Saturday, May 13, 2017

Therapy with TWA: Maria Sharapova

After careful consideration of Genie Bouchard's application for membership to The Official Tennis with Attitude Commission, I have decided to advance it to the second stage. Her first attempt last year was blocked for having all the talk and not the action to back it up. This time, she straight-up called Maria Sharapova a drug cheat who should be banned for life. Just before meeting her in the second round at the Madrid Open.
I couldn't watch the match, but kept a watchful eye on Twitter all day at work, and when I saw that Bouchard had pulled out the win, 6-4 in the third -- all I can say is that I have never been so gleeful at someone's defeat. Especially when I saw what I was waiting for (h/t to @hypotemuse on Twitter):

The cold-fish handshake, accompanied by the dismissive scold-stare by Bouchard. Oh, I tell you, I was gleeful. And that's when I realized I needed help.
I am not at all happy that Maria Sharapova is back in tennis.
I am trying to be a grown-up and be reasonable about this. Yes, it's good for tennis, especially for that green bottom line. She attracts people and attention. The more attention tennis gets, the better. Right. I know. And I get that she served her time for taking a banned substance and that when you do something wrong, you should be allowed to do the time and move on. She's done that.
She's also -- ever since this happened -- been walking around acting as though she hasn't done anything wrong, that this is Someone Else's fault and that she was simply caught in the middle. She has threatened legal action and essentially demanded that people like Bouchard not say bad things about her. She accepted a wild card into an event that had already started before she was cleared to play again. And this is really where I struggle. Wild cards are for people who are not banned for drugs or other illegal activities. She was ranked #262 in the world BECAUSE OF THE BAN, NOT AN INJURY. !!!!!!
Whew. Had to take a minute. I'm back.
But here's the problem I have: Sharapova is not going anywhere any time soon. She's not going to walk into a press conference one day this week and express any real regret for the situation she put herself into, and apologize on behalf of her ignorant agent who chose to defend her by insulting the careers of two pretty good players. So what do I do?
Nothing, basically. Sometime around last November 8, I learned that not everyone plays by the rules, and they still get to play and they still win. Sometimes, you can get banned by your sport, and go to Harvard, write a book, and get welcomed back to your sport with a wild card that you don't deserve. Sharapova might even win another Slam, and maybe even this year. And she will feel vindicated and everyone will say that this is why she's great for tennis and we'll forget she took a "heart medication" and apparently never told most of her team about this, which is probably why no one told her it was banned for 2017 -- no one knew she was taking it. That woulda helped.
There I go again. I was hoping this therapy session would end with me finding a way to make peace with the way Sharapova has returned to tennis, but nope. Still mad. Except when I watch this;

Heh. Small victories.

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