When Your Best isn’t Good Enough

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Bunker

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It was written as though it was going to be the perfect fairly tale ending. Andy Murray was going to take down the greatest Tennis player of all-time to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon. He was going to be a national hero, he was going to give it all he had and after years of coming up short, he was going to win his first Grand Slam. The English crowd would embrace him like no athlete they have ever before. But on Sunday, it wasn’t meant to be. Andy Murray is now once again lumped in with  Andy Roddick, Rocco Mediate, Ernie Els, Tommy Hearns and Mildred Taylor: Men who gave it their all in one fight, but just happened to run up against one of the all-time greats.

It’s heartbreaking to watch. I remember watching Andy Roddick have a career day against Roger Federer in 2009. His serves were lazer-like, his stamina kept him in the match. He pushed Federer to the brink in 5-set classic at a time when he seemed invincible. But at the end of the day, it just isn’t enough. The more painful fact is that no one remembers how great your best is when you lose. Sports is a winners game and when you fall short and no matter what the effort you put forth, the loser is rarely remembered. Andy Roddick hasn’t come close to winning a Grand Slam title since. His face at the end of that match said it all “I have nothing left”.

Rocco Mediate played the 4 best rounds of his career in 2008 at the U.S. Open. Tiger Woods was laboring on what we would later find out was a torn ACL . Mediate appreciated the moment, he embraced it. He became the guy we rooted for, because we wanted to see David take down Goliath. He didn’t have the obsessive drive to kill, kill, kill like Tiger. He was like us; Grinding and just happy to be there. We know what followed: Mediate loses in an 18-hole playoff to Tiger Woods, on a day where Tiger made one incredible shot after another. Mediate played the best he’s ever played and it just wasn’t good enough. We haven’t seen Mediate in the Top 5 since. Well at least he embraced the moment.

Which brings me to Andy Murray. Murray gave us something to talk about Sunday morning, something to watch. He gave us a great match, some excitement in a sport that is often swept under the rug, because their superstar, their GOAT, is less than charismatic. And he even gave us a moment, a tearful speech, for which many will remember him forever. That’s good, because it will probably be the last time we see Murray near the winner’s circle at a Grand Slam for a long time.

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