I promise this one will be shorter than the other time I referenced Roger Federer.
Sunday morning, late in the telecast of the epic Fed-Djokovic Wimbledon final, John McEnroe said of the 32-year-old all-time great: “The one thing about Roger I envy is that he loves winning more than he hates losing. It sounds easy, but it’s difficult.”
I thought about that, a lot, and wondered if I could say the same about myself. I know that both the wins and losses are less acutely emotional in a season like this one than they have been the last four, but as for whether I love the wins more than I hate the losses, especially during the awesomely intense seasons, I’m pretty sure I’m no Roger Federer.
Is that OK? To make myself feel at least a little better about this newly planted self-awareness, I thought about all those times, after big moments and big wins in big games, that I’ve heard Adrian Beltre say: “You guys are making too big a deal out of this. That’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Is that the healthy way to look at this? That winning is just what you’re supposed to do — Jason Witten handing the ball to the back judge after six instead of doing a convulsive rain dance — and so, yeah, maybe it’s OK to hate losing more than we love winning?
I’m pretty sure every one of us loves winning and hates losing and if we didn’t there’s a good chance we wouldn’t put so much time and energy into sports. But I’d never thought about weighing the two until I heard one transcendent athlete bring it up in the context of another transcendent athlete, and how he wishes he were wired the way the other one is.
This isn’t really the baseball season to figure out which category I really fit in, but I’m sure I know which one it is, and I think I’m probably right there with McEnroe in admitting that my distaste for losing, though I know it’s gotten at least a little healthier on a day-to-day basis as I’ve aged, drives my competitive urges more than the other thing.
So, you know, there’s that. Congrats to Joey Gallo (13), Jorge Alfaro (25), Nick Williams (46), Chi-Chi Gonzalez (49), and Lewis Brinson (57-ish) for winning spots on the mid-season BP Top 50 Prospects list, published this morning.
And that’s this morning’s edition of Today in Stuff.