Symbolic Interaction and the Australian Open(2016)

The women’s singles final has been played and the better player won.Angelique (Angelika)Kerber defeated Serena Williams in three sets.A player who survived a match point against her in the first round played to her game plan and kept her nerves under sufficient control to win.Immediately after the shortened match version available on ESPN a glamour ad appeared featuring the blonde blue eyed new champion. A similar ad might probably have appeared featuring Serena had she won.It is a reminder,however, that Sharapova has made two and one half times the external endorsement money that Serena has made.Life has its favorites and they tend to be of dominant racial and gender status.

Serena has lost twice in her last two matches after being heavily favored to extend her winning to overtake Steffie Graf.At 34 Serena needs all of her weapons to continue to win.A new generation of players features stronger and faster players.I believe that being a winner and front runner as a minority person imposes a symbolic burden that is unusual although not unique.The role model crown sits uneasily upon the head and front running is almost mandatory because of the slips and errors that must occur.Rethinking her stroke placements and distrusting her great serve Serena was vulnerable to a more usual variant of the underdog scenario and once again persistence and adherence to a plan carried the day.

There will be another similar symbolic confrontation on February 7 in a very different sport, with a young Cam Newton confronting an aged(footballwise) Peyton Manning .But here whole teams surround them and coaching is allowed!



  1. The traditional underdog triumphs again! In a short series(what could be shorter than one game?)defense trumps offense,pitching beats hitting etc,etc.But the minority superhero wearing the crown uneasily has to be a front runner.So when Carolina elected to go on defense at the start,they essentially conceded the game.This is a team that depended on a fast and often spectacular start often defending against a furious comeback by an opponent in the second half.They failed to acquire defenders that could protect their superhero against well considered pursuit!.The CBS Oscar mimicking show on the eve of the game puts a strain on awardees who must compete the next day.It’s a victory for seniors however( even though Manning’s performance was spotty.)I can only hope that he retires before he is seriously injured through lack of mobility.As for Newton he could consider consulting Serena!

    1. Serena got out in front and stayed.Her opponent (Kerber)was as tough as she was when she upset Serena in the Australian final,but confidence in her serve and net game kept her in front.She pulled sister Venus through to the women’s doubles final.Maybe three or four more in the next two years before age catches up?

  2. Apparently it is a magnifier. I loved it when the American Olympics hockey team famously beat the Russians a few years back (quite a few!). And my alma mater UCLA should beat my brother’s Stanford every time. Whatever we see as advancing (or sets back) what we cultivate as representing our “family” (anything with which we choose to have empathy) enhances the drama of being alive. But when a specific race becomes that “family” to which we harness (magnify) our life’s meaning, history demonstrates that it tends to become more serious than it needs to be, or should be. We are, after all, coming to understand that we are brothers and sisters in the one and only family of man. I discovered recently a web site called Prager University. Covering almost all subjects, it consists of U-Tube five minute lectures combined with quality animated graphics. A variety of good minds are selected to present their subjects and last week Larry Elder (lawyer, author, talk-show host, and sometimes seen on programs such as Meet the Press) presented a lecture addressing, “Is America Racist? This is worth viewing (1,750,000 views to date). Statistics show that in the US it is the “family of man” that is winning the game against “racial division”. Isn’t this team’s winning trend something we should cheer, rejoice, and spur on?

  3. Serena, nevertheless, is proving to be quite a lady by her actions off the court. Somehow I feel that the victory, itself, as well as the monetary rewards, are less important than the Way.

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