Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Blondes Make Big Decisions

Many people have had the experience of getting near, but not quite at, the very top of their profession. These folks often face a decision: Do I make changes that might be uncomfortable in the short term, but help me succeed later? Famous athletes face this decision knowing that the public is watching carefully, and that they will not be shy about second guessing decisions that don't pay off. It can't be an easy moment.
You may know the name Maria Sharapova. She's a Russian tennis player who spends most of her time in this country and speaks English with the barest trace of an accent. Aside from time lost when she was forced to the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Sharapova has almost always been near the top of the women's rankings. She is 6'2", is rather beautiful, looks great in high fashion outfits and is, in fact, the world's best-paid female athlete. 
But, with all that, life isn't perfect for Ms. S. The last time she beat Serena Williams was in 2004. She knows the clock is ticking on her career, though she's still in her twenties. Always a serious athlete, she's been in the kind of situation described above. She certainly wants to avoid telling children and grandchildren that she was almost #1. No thank you.
So, she hired a new coach, and not one you would think would be a natural choice. The new guy is Jimmy Conners, a famous tennis name, but someone whose playing days ended over twenty five years ago. What's more, Conners isn't the most cuddly guy you could have in your camp. Jimbo is seen as kind of prickly, and I have to think that his services don't come cheap. He's about five inches shorter than Maria, is left-handed (she isn't), and has made his post-playing home in Southern California, though he could probably find Russia on a map if forced to.  
Hey, sometimes this clash-of-styles type arrangement works out fine. Andy Murray, first Brit in 77 years to win Wimbledon, had the help of Ivan Lendl, the taciturn Czech/American who never won Wimbledon himself. I could go on, but would risk going over the "boring" line. Not gonna do that. Let's just say "Good Luck" to Maria and Jimmy. Please remember all the little people when you get to the top.

Let's see. The people I really don't like. Well, there's mass murderers, pornographers, dope dealers and, ah, Dick Cheney. That's about it.
Of course, that leaves room for others to join the list. One possible candidate is one of the Cheney daughters, Liz, who announced last week that she'll be running against a GOP incumbent for the position of U.S. senator. No, she didn't notify him before the announcement, which is usually done just as a formality. When asked asked about their relationship, the poor guy, Mike Enzi, could only say "I thought we were friends." Right. And Valerie Plame Wilson didn't think she had done anything to have Cheney Sr. trash her CIA career, either. Evidently Ms. Cheney learned a thing or two while writing her father's biography: "People will forget, and perhaps even respect meanness, as long as it's done to someone else".
More than one person has noticed that replacing Enzi doesn't add a single GOP vote in the Senate, therefore Cheney (the daughter) must have something else in mind. Running for president in 2020? Using U.S. armed forces to take over the NRA? It can't be just another book on "Why I'm a Winner and You Aren't". I won't hold my breath hoping for the straight dope coming from the candidate herself.
Anyway, there's no guaranteed walk to the Senate. Cheney doesn't really live in Wyoming any more than her father. She'll surely have plenty of campaign cash, but I'm guessing most will be from non-Wyoming entities. Besides, it really doesn't require lots of cash to run in the Cowboy State. The population is spread pretty thin outside of a handful of cities. And what could she really say about Enzi, a dependable if unspectacular anti-Obama vote? Look for a cascade of generalities, many aimed at mangling the truth in order to somehow have Enzi come off as a starry-eyed New Dealer, the type that gritty Wyomingites are supposed to hate. It all adds up to this - one more good reason to NOT live there.        



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