- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2009


“I’ve gone through three years of playing zone defenses because I was loyal to Herm Edwards. That’s what he wanted. People here in town knew that I was different than that.” - Former Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham


A tennis world known for its propriety and etiquette once again had its teacups rattled when a near-riot broke out at the Australian Open this week. Talk about bad manners.

The protagonists were Serbian and Bosnian fans who decided to express their timeless and mutual dislike after a match between a Serb, defending champion Novak Djokovic, and Amer Delic, a Bosnian-born American. The score was 30 evictions, two arrests and one woman hit by a flying chair. This makes it three years running that the tournament has been marred by ethnic passions gone wild.

Also upsetting the moral order of tennis, albeit more peaceably, was a streaker who disrupted a doubles match featuring the Williams sisters. Thankfully, both he and his equipment were confiscated.

We expect crazy stuff at soccer matches, of course, or the occasional Detroit Pistons game or whenever the Yankees and Red Sox get together. But tennis? The final barrier of unruly fan behavior has been shattered.

Naturally, no sane person condones violence, and we probably can get by without streaking. Yet this might actually be a good thing. For years, some have complained that although loud, boisterous fan participation is encouraged in most sports, tennis - and its partner in politeness, golf - remain exempt. Why?

Why should spectators clam up when Roger Federer is about to serve yet be allowed to shriek at jet engine levels and wave absurd props while Kobe Bryant concentrates on a free throw? Why would a fan be pummeled for yelling, “You da man!” in the middle of Tiger Woods’ backswing, yet baseball scoreboards encourage ear-shattering noise to distract the pitcher? In Arizona, they close the stadium roof to make it deafening for the Cardinals’ opponents. We won’t even get into the Cameron Crazies.

Golf and tennis are as intensely competitive as any other sport, sometimes more so. Why must the fans act so tamely? Maybe now that tennis has shown itself to be the same in terms of rowdiness, everyone should just lighten up and let fans reasonably express themselves. If nothing else, it might help them let off a little steam - before they get to the chairs.


A Texas high school girls basketball game ended 100-0 this week, and Duke beat Maryland by 41 on Saturday. You want blowouts? We’ve got blowouts:

1. 1916, college football - Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland 0. The Yellow Jackets score a touchdown on every offensive play. Cumberland drops football for the next two years.

2. 1940, NFL - Chicago 73, Washington 0. The championship game, no less. The Bears outrush the Redskins 381-5 and intercept eight passes, returning three for touchdowns.

3. 1944, NHL - Detroit 15, New York 0. Ten Red Wings players score. Sid Abel gets the hat trick, scoring all three goals in the final eight minutes.

4. 1950, MLB - Boston 29, St. Louis 4. Bobby Doerr hits three homers and drives in eight runs for the Red Sox. Clyde Vollmer bats eight times in eight innings against the bewildered Browns.

5. 1991, NBA - Cleveland 148, Miami 80. “I don’t know what we played, but it wasn’t basketball,” the Heat’s Glen Rice said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide