What I'm about to say and write about has nothing to do with anything of this blog: I absolutely love Andy Roddick. Today I had to watch Roddick lose badly to Novak Djokivic of Serbia in the second round of the Olympics, and fall into a little depression. Watching Roddick lose always has that effect on me.
Here I must say that personal emotions play a large role in writing and any artistic work. We can try to block out our emotions by continuing to work through our pain, sorrow, frustration, anger, or even happiness and jubilation, when those emotions are yelling at us to just sit around and do nothing except indulge ourselves. But our emotions do affect our ability to work and they certainly affect what we do. At Wesley Theological Seminary there's a beautiful hallway that starts with bright, sunny colors, and then ends with darkness and depression. The man commissioned to paint the hallway had to deal with his daughter's death halfway through his painting. The effect is a beautiful contrast. I'd bet, though, that the artist couldn't have possibly done anything else during that time of suffering even if he desperately tried to.
Now I am here to say that I probably won't be blogging again for a little while because, after watching Roddick win passionately the other day, watching him lose today was devastating. Why do I care so much?
Roddick is not the greatest American tennis player of all-time. There are a bunch of Americans to rank above him, men and women: Agassi, Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Williams (x2). For a short while in the early 2000's Andy was ranked #1 in the world and he won the 2003 U.S. Open at a youngish age. I and many others thought that Roddick thought that was just the beginning. Turns out, it was kind of the end. Though Roddick is one of only two tennis players to win at least one tournament every year for the past twelve years--the great Federer being the other--he has not won another major tournament since 2003. But Roddick's greatness has never been part of why I love the man. Before his great win in 2003 I already had an inkling that he'd be my favorite athlete of all-time in any sport, and his greatness over the years has only been a vehicle for my seeing him more often, cheering him on more often, and loving his victories more often.
Andy Roddick is my favorite athlete of all-time, and probably always will be, because of who he is. Roddick is a competitor, a fighter; and a very fun and passionate one at that. He's like John McEnroe except far more controlled. He's like Russell Crowe in Gladiator when he throws the sword at the spectators yelling, "Are you not entertained!!!" or when the crowd of the Coliseum starts chanting "Maximus! Maxiumus!": Roddick gets the crowd going. He's like a comedian on the court sometimes, and a comedian off the court--here he is imitating Rafael Nadal in a real match: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Oc1daLXwZ0; here is imitating Maria Sharapova: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc5uqBCI0VI; you can find a whole lot of other moments of Roddick's imitations pretty easily, too; here are some funny off-court Roddick moments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF_C7x78o8U&feature=related; and here is Andy Roddick playing with a frying pan for a charity event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwfbYdaYEoc. This last is probably my favorite because, indeed, Roddick is a great person, spending lots of time and energy raising money for a whole bunch of charities.
Anyone remember 2009? I don't really. I try not to. In 2009 Roddick, for the third time in his career, finished 2nd in Wimbledon. Roddick has a terrible record against Roger Federer, who he lost to, but he can still say things like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcwUp8S9T-M. At that Wimbledon, at a time in his career when a lot of people had written him off as someone whose career had fallen apart, Roddick put everything together, was winning one set to none against Federer and all my dreams seemed to be coming true: Roddick had a big lead in the tiebreak in the second set with two serves, his best asset, to build what seemed like what would be an insurmountable lead. He ended up collapsing, lost the second set, and then lost a very long fifth set. I was broken. And at times it seems like Andy has been broken ever since. All of my devoted love, all of my pain and suffering from supporting the man even when it's seemed like he has nothing more to give, seemed worth it... until it wasn't.
But in the end, my love for him will always be worth it. I think it's rare in individual sports to find an athlete so passionate and competitive, and gifted, that is also outgoing, hilarious, and a great person. Plus, I think he is super hott. Somehow Roddick is McEnroe and Agassi and Sampras put together. He just had the bad luck of peaking at the same time that Federer did, who is undoubtedly the best tennis player ever. I've never been a big fan of the big serve, big forehand type of tennis that Roddick plays (one of the reasons why I loved his renaissance in 2009 leading up to his almost Wimbledon miracle when he became a serve and volley guy), but his attitude on the court, win or lose, and off the court have justified my pulling for him in all things. And that's why I get so depressed when he loses.