Sarasota News Leader

07/19/2013

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Sarasota News Leader July 19, 2013 OPINION Page 72 FOR SPORTS FANS, IT IS INDEED A FEVER By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Having been totally absorbed in the matches at Wimbledon for the previous week, and then, during the men's final, watching every second of the players' mastery with the intensity of the chair umpire, I decided to explore what I am calling "Sports Fever." The match between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovich (an instant classic) — two geniuses at the game of tennis — will go down in history for many reasons. One of those is that it marked the occasion when another British male finally won at Wimbledon and succeeded Fred Perry's name as the last one belonging to a Brit on the Wall of Champions. The British and all Anglophiles the world over had been caught up in a waiting game for 77 years, and Andy Murray, their beloved Scot, finally relieved their anxiety. Being a sports fan (or fan-atic, as I call it) is not easy for the fan or his/her loved ones. The latter simply do not understand how we can devote so much time — and pour so much emotion — into an activity in which we are not physically involved. We are NOT serving aces; NOT kicking a soccer goal; NOT scoring a touchdown. We are very actively engaged in our favorite sport, but we are viewing it from afar. The good news is, we will not get hit by the ball. The bad news is, we do not have a prayer of getting hit by the ball. However, as a sports fan-atic, when I watch a major tennis match, I feel no guilt or embarrassment if I yell out loud at the TV screen. And clapping is even more fun. So what if Rafa (Rafael Nadal) does not hear me? I am in the moment and participating in his match with as much fervor as possible. Rooting for teams may be different from playing them. Nonetheless, the camaraderie of guys hanging out at their local sports bars — and bonding over their favorite teams — and my watching a tennis match alone are experiences probably just as emotionally charged as being on the courts or playing fields is for the competitors. Let the games continue … only five more weeks until the U.S. Open. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com, with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. Letters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader.

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