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Game, Set, Match
by J. H. Huebert

The Collegian 
September 22, 2000

Iím not a big follower of professional sports. I respect what athletes do, but to me it seems sort of silly to cheer for people that you donít know, in a situation where you have no control over the outcome. I think my lack of sports fanaticism makes my life is better than it otherwise would be, because my emotions donít hinge on how someone else performs in a game.

That said, I have a new hero in the world of sports, and she is Venus Williams.


Earlier this month, Miss Williams won the U.S. Open womenís tennis tournament. Big dealósomeone does that every year and I donít notice.


What makes Miss Williams truly outstanding is the manner in which she handled the traditional congratulatory phone call from President Clinton. One might have expected her to thank the chief executive for taking time out of his busy schedule to recognize her achievement, etc.


But she had something more important on her mind: She asked him if he could see about lowering taxes. "Did you see how hard I worked out there?" she asked. "I want to keep my earnings."


Taken aback by the unusual treatment, Clinton said that he didnít think that he could do anything about that right now, but that there should be new rules for athletes.




Why a special exemption for athletes? Because Bill Clinton likes watching them? What about the people who run the companies who produce the food he eats and the clothes he wears? What about the guy whoís just managed to get a little bit ahead after a lifetime of hard work? Are they less deserving?


And somehow I donít think middle class voters who struggle to make ends meet are going to be thrilled about special "new rules" for the guys who get paid $1 million to warm the bench in the NBA.


Of course, President Clinton wasnít seriousóhis was the embarrassed response of a politician caught off guard.


Venus wasnít buying it, either. Her response: "Can I read your lips on that?"


The President then invited Miss Williams to dinner at the White House. She told him: "Iíll see what I can do about it."


Venus Williams knows sheís earned what she has through her own work. And apparently sheís not about to accord an undue amount of respect to a man who has never earned anything in the free market, where value is exchanged for value, but who has instead spent his entire life in government, living at the expense of productive people like herself.


Itís easy for politicians to attack "the rich" as a greedy, evil class that deserves to be taxed. But itís a bit less comfortable when they have to speak directly to our some of our nationís greatest achievers and justify what they do to them.


And what about the rest of us? How would Bill Clinton handle each of us if we told him how much harder our lives are because we have to work almost half of a year to pay all of our taxes? Imagine if he had to give an embarrassed apology to each of us individually for taking what weíve rightfully earned, as he did to Venus Williams.


I get no thrill from other peopleís victories on the court or on the field. But when Venus Williams refused to bow down to the majesty of the state and socked it to President Clinton, she was scoring one for all of us.


Thatís worth cheering for.


© 2000 J. H. Huebert