KNEELING

1. It’s Monday, March 21, 2016.

2. It’s spring! YES!

3. I’m looking forward to the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Because my bracket has been dead since day two this year, after my pick to win it all – Michigan State – bit the dust to something called Middle Tennessee.

Even though I didn’t pick them to go far, part of my rooting interest now is the Wisconsin Badgers. For one thing, I love rooting for teams Northwestern beat, and my Wildcats beat Wisconsin 70-65 in January. For another, the school keeps fighting the state’s morally challenged governor, who despite all his efforts to diminish one of the nation’s great public universities will try to bask in the glory of this basketball success.

My other cheering interest is Maryland, my daughter’s alma mater. The Terps held off Hawaii last night and now tackle the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Kansas. Let’s see what happens.

4. Serena Williams is one of the world’s best athletes. She might, in fact, be the world’s best athlete, if there was any objective way of measuring that.

Any idiot who attempts to diminish her deserves all the opprobrium that’s coming. And for the idiot who runs the Indian Wells tennis tournament, that’s going to be a lot.

This meatball, whose name is Raymond Moore but whose given names should be Please God No, made the following remarks about women who play professional tennis: “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

That would come as news to the millions of people who have paid good money to see Maria Sharapova in the current era, and such greats as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf in the past.

And especially to those who root for Serena Williams, who might be the best woman ever to play the sport. She has elevated the overall quality of tennis with her incredible athleticism and her ability to stay competitive for so long in a sport that burns out its stars young.

Ms. Williams is ticked off, and not just because she lost Please God No’s tournament in the finals. She referenced the interest she and her sister, Venus, bring to tournaments around the world, and the fact that they’re as big a draw as any man in tennis.

One other point. In addition to being an antediluvian cluck, Raymond (Please God No) Moore also is not especially patriotic. Federer is Swiss. Nadal is Spanish.

Serena Williams is proudly U.S.A. We should be as proud of her as she is of us.

5. Here’s a question: Where’s Ted Cruz?

Remember him? He’s supposed to be part of a hell-bent mission to stop Donald Trump from being the Republican presidential nominee.

And yet, you’re not going to find a lot of mention of Cruz in the news as this week starts. Trump’s rallies in Arizona and Utah resulted in more attention-getting punching and collar-grabbing.

But after looking around, I found that Cruz spent the weekend dropping in on an Assemblies of God congregation in Peoria, Ariz. The congregation prayed for him, which is touching.

Among the things Cruz told the church members was that each should go out and vote 10 times for him. Then he said that was a joke and that only Democrats committed that kind of voter fraud. 

Cruz’s low profile seems to be a way to lower expectations. He wants to seem like a comeback kid tomorrow when he wins Utah, as expected, and possibly wrestles Arizona from Trump, who’s ahead in the polls.

His big problem is that he only seems interested in people who go to church. The rest of us can, and will, go to hell.

 

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