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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Federer’s upset at Wimbledon: Is it the end of an era?

Federer and Nadal have endured a reputable rivalry that is phenomenal and enthralling in all aspects especially the quality of the games; the off pitch tranquility and friendship. Both are immensely gifted tennis players, endowed enough to be touted as the “greatest” in real terms. After Nadal’s marathon victory at Wimbledon on the rain threaded Sunday July 6 2008, on grass, opinions have been sprayed from all corners. Boris Becker’s comments stirred the most commotion. “Whoever wins the French opens and Wimbledon in the same year for me is the number one in the world”, from a former three-time champion was a bit unexpected, though predictable. Referring to the ATP ranking, he continued, “The computer just didn’t get it yet”.

It is true that Nadal’s feat is entirely Herculean. The last person to do so was Bjorn Borg in 1980, almost three decades ago. In Roger, this generation of tennis lovers is distinguished by having a player that done enough to rise to a level where the tag of the “greatest” is fathomable. But the likes of Becker populate a personality landscape seemingly unwilling to accommodate a greater greatness. Last year he stated that it was too “premature” to ever consider Federer as the greatest; that he needed to play at this level for a couple of years. To some extent I agree with the essence of that statement. It is obviously too early because he is still an active player dominating the tennis stratosphere.

Even the suggestion that he is on the decline is untenable and largely ridiculous. It is humanly impossible to play at the standard he has set for himself. Surprisingly, he has done it for so long that we now take it for granted. An occasional dip, even if prolonged is inevitable, but should not arouse negative speculations. No one on an apocalyptic decline would refuse to buckle and participate in a match described by none other than John McEnroe as the “the greatest we have ever seen”. The 6 – 12 head to head in favor of Nadal does not in any way infer superiority. It is more of a manifestation of the mental disparity in the zeal to win. While one is effortlessly pumped up to achieve victory at all cost, even if it means serving only to the backhand, the other is effortless willing to allow his share ability to prevail.

Nadal is the undisputed king of clay, but tennis on that surface is like playing soccer on a flooded pitch. To conclude that Nadal’s momentum is startling huge enough to whip the world’s number one in a few months and put an end to an era is more emotion than certainty. What makes Federer special is how easily he has turned his phenomenal achievement into a walk along the park. It is so tempting to underrate his achievements and shear excellence because he makes it look so easy, as if we can all reproduce it. He will be 27 next month, a lot of years to attain two feats; surpass Sampras’ 14 grand slam haul and win the French opens. On that day he would wake away from the cheering with the eternal tag of the greatest. Only time appears to curtail this reality.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Entwistle murder trial: Sex addiction and the will to kill

Watching handsome Neil Entwistle stand steely with frozen emotion, as the juror read out their verdict, I was briefly tempted to take a fantasy ride and return a not plea, but outward mien is about the ultimate deceit. The suggestion that he was sex addicted creates a window to assess the drive for homicide. A foremost researcher in the psychology of addiction once noted that at the heart of this defect is, “a spiritual and emotional impoverishment that causes the self to invest in some thing or person to obtain a sense of worth and security”. It true that he was embattled with failed businesses, but a lifestyle that indicates inner emptiness provides a snap shot of Neil life in the last days. Any addiction can competently disallow progressive growth of the spirit which prevents long lasting fulfillment.

He may have been saddled and asphyxiated by his circumstance, but the main essential source of fortitude is one’s family, which he apparently walked away from. Instead of drawing closer to the ageless healer; a daughter and a wife, he instead sought, “temporary relief from his emptiness”. In a way his capacity for love was transformed by basic human experience into a self seeking disordered attachment with his vices and a morbid pre-occupation with what he was unable to achieve in spite of an effort he thought was abundant. In many cruel ways he confirms the suggestion that who the person his determines his response when motivated to do anything, even to kill. Some may be drugged to do harm, while others with even a greater amount of the same drug, will do no harm.

This saga reminds a lot of us of the frailty of our composure and how emergent it is to proffer more competent solutions for coping with various stressful situations in other to prevent the total collapse that precipitates harms to our love ones. Our addictions are more of reflective devices that tells us about our deepest ills.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Out of control sexual behavior: Can it be assessed?

The twin scourge of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), causative agents for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and cancer of the cervix, has prompted the emphasis on sexual health and reproductive tract infection. And the obvious link between these infectious agents and their uncomfortable effects is sexual intercourse, especially when unprotected. Individual that exhibit out-of-control-sexual behavior are at exceptional risk of these poor outcomes. A new research highlights a useful tool application to young people that can be used to identify individuals who are so “preoccupied with their sexual desires and behaviors to the degree that disruptions in social relationships, occupational difficulties, and problems in daily living are experienced by them”.

They administered the questionnaire to college students, containing 170 items and taking approximately 40 minutes, which may be coming to a school near you. An important observation was that sexual orientation was independent factor that predicted sexual behavior. In terms of poor responses to the adverse outcomes associated with this behavior, men solely expressed themselves in physical terms; “the pattern maybe experiencing pain, injury or problems” while women expressed themselves more in psychological, spiritual and emotional terms, “actions being inconsistent with their spiritual belief, feeling ashamed or guilty.

The author concluded by stating that “the results of the study indicate that the Sexual Compulsivity Scale is a reliable and valid tool for assessing sexual compulsivity among college students and the findings indicate that higher levels of sexual compulsivity, the greater the negative outcomes, as well as sexual risk-taking behaviors.

Mcbride K, Reece M, Sandes SA (2008). Using the Sexual Compulsivity Scale to Predict Outcomes of Sexual Behavior in Young Adults. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity; 15:97–115, 2008.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hillary's thoughtful lesson for all

Hillary Clinton's mien portrays a deep and steady character unique to her gender. One who should be effortlessly willing to disregard the stuborn devices of her kids in other to allow for the fluorish of their youthful souls. This refined and perceptable quality of motherhood is linked invariably with a reasonable degree of protective tendencytowards her wards.It is tempting to speculate that this trait may explain the phenomenal support she has gotten from the female adult population who are more likely to appreciate her. When her quest for Presidential primary nomination is view as a CHILD to be protected, it becomes easy to appreciate her resilience is refusing to concede to Obama inspite of of being behind in three important parameters; the total number of pledged delegates, Popularity vote and the number of states won. Should we blame her? Or learn from her humanity.

About a year ago, her successful nomination was more of an inevitable certainty. But so much has happened, largely unexpected, though with some flamboyance to destroy that conclusion. Because she was prodded to step down for Al Gore in 2003, it was expected that the Party Czars would exploit their weighty persuations to chastise any oppositon. The strenght of this reassurance must encourage a premature feeling of victory, even dragging one's perception into the future to embrace success in its real form. As defeat becomes increasingly likely, many thought she would throw in the towel.She has not!

It is essentially easy to appreciate the fact that true success is a mazy blend of ASPIRATION and OPPORTUNITY. She had the desire and was opportuned, but still unable to achieve Party nomination.In a way her perception already cherishes victory, but the reality is not consistent with her expectations, a CHILD which she can not afford to lose. On the outside, we see a fighter who is setting new standards for electoral contest, while on the inside, a conflict plays itself out. Accepting the unimaginable must compete with more maternal instinct of commnunal harmony (Party unity). Pushing on exposes her to the formidable risk of Democratic Party disenchantment. If she losses the nomination and the Party fails in November, the bulk will certainly stop on her desk, amounting to a political suicide.

Her actions leaves us with an inescapable lesson lesson; that we must always allow our imagination an exit strategy from the outset, no matter how favorably the odds favor us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

English Soccer: After Moscow, What Next?

Last week wednesday, English football was the darling of world soccer lovers as Manchester United and Chelsea played out the UEFA champions league finals. Terry's miss aside, it was an exciting climax to a cotinental soccer season thoroughly dominated by English teams, with good play, crafted by foreigners. On June 7, 2008, European soccer teams will commence a championhip without England! While Moscow offered solace, the absence of England in the more honorable competition is bound to bite hand in two weeks. Menories of the loss to Croatia is bound to unbundle.

While it is essentially premature to suggest that football in England is on the decline, what many appear to overlook is the unnerving fact that the success of the likes of Mancester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal in the past two seasons is based on a philosophy that undermines English football at the National grade. and the reason for the success amonuts to temptation at the highset rung. In this case, money is definitely is the root of all evil. With the apt utilization of fund, deft marketing tricks, especially in Asia and diligent managent of their club sides, they have become more financially bouyant, able assemble the best players in the worlds to compete in the most glamorous club contest, which is equally hugely profitable with enormous pay days from television rights. The combination is malignant. We get richer as we do better, so that we can continue to lure the best players. Sadly, the need to protect the English game is an unfortunate victim. How can the likes of Wright-Philips endure the refining fire that cleanses one's skill for stardom when the bench is so confortable. it is a tunnel with no easy exits.

By the end of June, the journey to prove those who have concluded that English football, apart from club glory is finished will resume, though cautiosly but definitely. What will happen if England fails to qualify for the next world cup. The coming months will be a defining period for the originators of the round leather game as the Italian mob attempts to defile what amounts to a prophesy in some circles. I believe that we may not be doing too well, but we need to find a middle point between club success and national glory urgently or the era of under-performing will become lengthen and familiar.