Sunday, September 13, 2009

Serena Is Anything But Serene

Last night Serena Williams became the poster girl for PMS. There, I said it. I outed my sex for the monthly hormonal stupidity that turns huge numbers of females into festering boils of rage, for which we continue to refuse to accept any responsibility. 
     Serena has already told the world that she has very difficult periods, in particular, menstrual migraines. And where there are menstrual migraines, PMS poisoning can't be too far away. I know, TMI.
     Serena has had a history of strange physical collapses during tournaments, where she suddenly seemed to lose focus and no longer be competitive. To the point where I began to wonder if her cycle might be engulfing her in a physical and mental ring of fire.  
     Unfortunately, as one gets older, the PMS only gets worse. The symptoms aren't just about anger, screaming, and threats of violence under stress. Anybody can do that. The final component must also include self-destruction. The immolation starts with the full and complete knowledge that what you are about to do or say to another person will put your job, life, relationship, car, bank account, or game, set, and match at risk of Armageddon. The last nail in the PMS coffin is to ignore the voice in your head yelling at you to get a grip. It's hard for unaffected people to understand, but when the PMS demon takes over, nothing matters except burning down the house. Even when the consequences are abundantly clear. 
     Otherwise, it's not true PMS; it's just a bad day. 

     In her match last night against Kim Clijsters, Serena, last year's champion, was losing. Clijsters, who won in 2005, came into the tournament unranked, unseeded, and feeding a new baby. She took the first set, 6-4.
     Serena was serving in the second set at 5-6, 15-30 [the server's scores are given first].  She was serving to tie the score at 30 all. She had already made twice as many unforced errors as Clijsters. Serena faulted on her first serve, missing the service court entirely. Then she got called for a foot fault on her second serve. Now the score was 15-40 with Clijsters one point away from taking not only the set, but the match. 
     It is worth noting that foot fault calls are almost unheard of at Serena's level. Especially in a Grand Slam tournament. Ironically, Venus Williams, before she was eliminated, was also called for foot faults several times. I remember that each time she just looked over at the linesperson and glared. 
     But last night, when Serena got called for a foot fault on a key point in a key match, she lost her bearings in a bizarre display of anger, screaming like a madwoman at the lineswoman, apparently threatening her.   
     She'd already had a warning about racket abuse. When she lost the first set, she broke her racket in a show of frustration. For PMS aficionadas, once the bad girl behavior starts, it only escalates. Too bad the chair umpire couldn't call her over and broach the subject, "Excuse me Miss Williams, are you going to be on the rag anytime soon, because your behavior reeks of PMS." 
     Meanwhile, Serena was penalized a point for threatening the lineswoman and thanks to that point, a very confused Kim Clijsters won the match.  
     At the press conference Serena didn't say she was sorry, nor did she confess that she might have made a mistake. Nope, she said that her temper used to be worse. Earth to Serena, your other outbursts were nothing compared to the amplitude of this one. 
     Of course, having made my usual opinionated statements to advance my cockamammy theories, none of them does much to explain John McEnroe's verbal assaults on the umpires and linesmen when he was playing. Not to mention Jimmy Connors.
     But I've never let the facts get in the way before, so why start now?

1 comment:

Chris said...

She should become the corporate spokesperson for Wilson (or whoever supplies tennis balls these days).