Pages: Diana Nyad’s swim and Roger’s fall-A A +A
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Ooops. My bad. In this space two days ago, I headlined the story of Roger Federer and his quarterfinal match against Rafael Nadal. It turns out, I spoke too fast. Roger Federer lost. He shouldn’t have. In their 10 previous meetings, Tommy Robredo had only won three sets. The Spaniard lost to the Swiss, 10-0.
Not last Tuesday. After a 144-minute 4th Round loss at the US Open that saw Roger commit dozens of unforced errors, he’s leaving New York City a beaten old man.
My prediction came true: Roger would lose to a Spaniard—but not this (Tommy) netter from Spain. We thought he’d lose to Nadal.
What’s wrong with Roger? Plenty. His feet are heavy. His mind possesses self-doubt.
He’s 32. Nobody stays young forever. He’s got twin daughters, who are four years old. Ask any father and they’d attest to this fact: Having children transforms your life.
Usually, for the better. True, you become a better person—but, quite possibly, a worse tennis player. It’s called priorities. While before the sole focus was yellow tennis balls and service aces, now it’s yellow rubber duckies and serving your twin
No, it’s not the end of the world for Roger fanatics like Chinggay Utzurrum, Michelle So and Moya Jackson. RF won’t retire. Not yet. But the question is: Can he win one more? Can he add to Major No. 17?
Here’s a good bet: Who’s more likely to win between the two Rolex endorsers, Roger or Tiger?
DIANA NYAD. By now, you must have read the news or watched the footages on CNN. Her name is Diana. She’s 64 years old. That’s beyond “senior citizenship.” From a super-pretty-face (check out how gorgeous she was when she was younger), she has transformed into one that has some wrinkles. Well, she’s 64. At that age, you’re expected to become “mature.”
What Diana accomplished two days ago is one of 2013’s top stories. Sports or otherwise, it’s an unbelievable story.
Basti Lacson, my good friend and Veco’s top executive—plus one who did the Strait of Gibraltar swim (from Portugal to Spain)--sent this message yesterday: “Reading about Diana Nyad... amazing story at 64. What determination! Shows there are amazing people in this world of ours.”
True. Hers is a story of grit and never-say-never attitude.
She first tried the Cuba to Florida 110-mile swim at the age of 28. After swimming for 76 miles, she stopped. She had to. The 8-foot-tall waves of the storm would kill her.
Her dream was killed. But not her willpower. She tried again. And again. And again. A
total of four times she attempted – and failed. Her fourth try was two years ago.
Then, at the age of 62, she thought it was over. But something troubled her; I’ve got to make one more jump.
Jump she did! She made it.
Guy Concepcion, an Olympian who swam for our nation in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and himself a long-distance marathon swimmer, sent me this email last night:
“Some folks can’t even tie their shoelaces without feeling their back get sore, she swam in shark-infested waters at age 64. That is amazing.
“How hard did that feat really feel? The skin irritation alone, salt and sun, stings from small sea lice, etc. would be a deterrent for someone like me, even though I love open water swimming. After a few hours in the ocean, I am ready for a beer. She was out there for two and half days.”
Dead sharks. Poisonous jellyfish. Storms. These and many more she had to brave to complete the swim. (Reading her story, the 1.9-km. swim of the Half-Ironman no longer sounds too daunting.)
Barack Obama said on Twitter: “Never give up on your dreams.”
Hillary Clinton, too, tweeted: “Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks—but you actually did it! Congrats!”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2013.