We now enter the Hit Parade portion of the athletic calendar, the annual
Sports has always loved rankings. Like it or not, it's one more gift from sports to the culture at large, because now everything is ranked. Rich people are ranked. Colleges. Best-dressed celebrities. Somebody has actually ranked the top explorers. Really.
The college rankings, by
But we believe in rankings.
Then again, the whole process is, well, rank, because, after all, nobody can possibly compare teams all over the country with any degree of intelligence. Nobody can even see many of them play. It's like being in Congress and voting on bills you know nothing about. So, it's very American.
Of course, no system is going to satisfy everybody. The latest brouhaha is in women's tennis, where rankings pretty much operate on
As a consequence, when the U.S. Open began last week,
Serena, of course, enjoys all the fuss. Not so long ago, for example, she said: "I'm like one of those girls on a reality show that has all the drama, and everyone in the house hates them." But then, she wouldn't be ranked No. 2 if she cared more about playing in the lesser tournaments, where she all too often only goes through the motions.
That's odd for a champion. For example, her current superstar peers like
But all of Serena only shows for the Grand Slams -- and hey, it works for her. On Tuesday night she got safely through to the semifinals.
So tennis fans have even more reason to beat up on poor, sweet, No. 1 Dinara Safina for always trying hard, but too often losing when it counts. Serena will still remain No. 2 in the goofy rankings, even if she wins the Open once again. She's hard-boiled, she's a fierce competitor, but then, as her shirt said the other day, "Can't spell dynasty without nasty."