I’ve been scrapbooking 2009 sports stories. Let’s see…Yankees win the World Series, A-Rod admits taking steroids, Michael Vick signs with Philly, Kobe wins one without Shaq, and so on.
Here’s one that might entertain: Serena Williams was voted AP Female Athlete of the Year. Many will remember 2009 as the year Williams was fined $82,500 and hammered with a two-year probation. If she commits another major violation while on probation, she will be barred from the U.S. Open and fined another $92,500.
Her 2009 major violation was the result of a one-way conversation with a lineswoman at the U.S. Open. The lineswoman made what turned out to be an incorrect foot-fault call on Williams. Serena walked toward the terrified official and said, “I swear to God, I’m fucking taking this ball and shoving it down your fucking throat.... I swear to God. Do you hear me? I swear to God. You better be glad, you better be fucking glad that I’m not, I swear.”
Serena’s on-court serenade, and an earlier warning for racket abuse, added up to a one-point penalty, enough to award the match to her opponent.
Three months later, Williams is voted AP Female Athlete of the Year, which is fine by me. She’s got the stats. Williams collected $6.5 million in tournament winnings during 2009, a single-season tour record. She won the singles championship at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. She won the doubles, with her sister Venus, at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.
But — here’s the weird part — the runner-up, the number-two AP Female Athlete of Year vote-getter was…a female horse. Regard, the fair Zenyatta, a five-year-old mare and the first female horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. And again, that’s fine with me. If the AP Female Athlete of the Year competition includes animals, I can think of a couple Alaskan malamutes who deserve consideration. Then there’s Ralphie the buffalo, a University of Colorado mascot and legendary open-field runner. And Blackie the cat, Dumbo the elephant…let a thousand flowers bloom.
Speaking of elephants, there’s one in the room. We might as well get this over with. Tiger Woods. It wasn’t a sports story in the beginning, but may be the biggest sports story of the decade before it’s over.
This morning’s count is 15 mistresses. No one knows the number of one-night stands. Don’t get me wrong — I do not mean to slander one-night stands — I honor them, but at some number you cross the threshold from robust sporting sex to personality disorder. And, yes, it’s his business, but not entirely, not when he makes millions of dollars appearing on national TV posing as a devoted husband, father, and all-around family guy. Do that for 10 or 15 years and you don’t get a privacy pass when you’re busted as a whoremaster.
Still, it’s sex, and people are crazy. Hush money and lawyers will cost Tiger millions of dollars. And it will cost him his marriage and tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in marriage buyout fees, plus many, many millions of dollars more in lost endorsements. But, the lad has way more money than the lousy two or three hundred million bucks this will eventually cost. So, one thinks, adding up the score, no harm, no foul, save for his wife and two small children who will grow up knowing their daddy is a pathological liar.
But, all that can be overcome if Tiger returns to the PGA Tour and plays great golf. It’s steroids that could ruin him.
Introducing Dr. Anthony Galea, a Canadian sports doctor who has treated elite athletes in the NFL, NBA, and the rest. The New York Times reports that the FBI is investigating Galea for providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have already charged him with conspiring to smuggle Nutropin (a human growth hormone) and other drugs into the United States.
His one-time assistant is “cooperating with U.S. federal authorities.” Dr. Galea says he has been injecting himself with human growth hormone five days a week for the past ten years. He’s a doc — a Canadian one at that — and he can prescribe his medicine. Galea has denied any wrongdoing.
Who cares? Well, Galea traveled to Woods’s home four times last February and March to treat Tiger’s slow-healing Achilles tendon. Galea was there to provide Woods with his legal, platelet-rich plasma therapy that is supposed to speed up healing.
That’s nothing. There’s no proof of anything regarding Woods and steroids. Then again, these investigations take time…ask Barry Bonds.