Federer’s Misplaced Outrage Over Fan Incident

Fan gets by security, runs onto court & attempts selfie with Roger Federer #FrenchOpen http://ble.ac/1F3QPja   Bleacher Report

Fan gets by security, runs onto court & attempts selfie with Roger Federer #FrenchOpen http://ble.ac/1F3QPja
Bleacher Report

The French Open is in full force, and the number 2 ranked player, Roger Federer is not particularly happy with the security in place at the tournament, on and off center court. On Sunday, a young man approached Federer as he was leaving the court, and snapped a selfie with the tennis titan. Federer was very vocal following the incident, and has complained to the tournament organizers as well as the media.

Federer, calm and poised both on and off the court, has exhibited little sense of entitlement, and has funneled over a million dollars to his charity which aides under-served youth. The media in general has found him boring, and perhaps this is why they have focused in on this issue, hoping to uncover a narcissist under the cool and collected surface. In some sense, it is the perfect media trap, a young teenager who made a rash decision (and what teenager doesn’t) trying to get a picture with his tennis hero, combined with an unusually outspoken and complaining Federer.

Fans of course are an integral part of any sport. The people who pay for the tournaments, buy the endorsed gear, and contribute to Federer’s tourney purses are the spectators and fans. Without them, a player may be great, but would have little opportunity and/or motivation to compete. Not to mention such a career would be economically unfeasible. At some level, we look to the players to acknowledge this relationship, an expectation that goes beyond simply allowing fans to observe from afar.

With all things though, there must be balance. Players cannot be expected to spend every free moment signing autographs and making themselves personally available to the fans. The expectation of simple courtesy towards the players should not be forfeit. In the big picture though, a single fan breaking the rules to take a picture, while inconvenient, is hardly a issue worth addressing publicly. In doing so, Federer, regardless of the nobility of his intent to address the personal safety of the players, has provided the media with what they have sought for during his career. A reason to question his character.

 

The Vastness of the Known Universe

Or How to Feel Very, Very Small

I was amusing myself with an astronomy app a few nights ago. It was cold, overcast and generally miserable outside, but I was thinking about the stars, and so I loaded up Star Walk by Vito Technology Inc. It’s a beautiful application for IOS with an incredible amount of information on planets, stars, constellations, and some less heavenly objects (more than 3000 satellites are currently shooting around in earth orbit). I was so excited about outer space that I ended up spending $2.99 for the updated Star Walk 2 app, and I paid another $2.99 to unlock all of the in-app content. While I’m generally a cheap skate, these purchases were well worth it.

I was clicking on stars, reading about constellations and various facts about galaxies, and I started to take note of the distances. In space, most distance is measured in terms of light years. For an object one light year away, if you were traveling at the speed of light, it would take one year to traverse that distance. Take a moment to think about how crazy this actually is. The fastest a human has ever traveled was 39,897 kph in space. The crew of NASA’s Apollo 10 moon mission reached that speed as they rocketed back to our planet on May 26, 1969. But light travels at a speed of 1 BILLION kph. Apollo 10 reached just .004% of the speed of light.

I started to think about how enormous this makes the universe. As I looked a more stars, I tried to find the ones farthest from the earth. I found one that was about 800 light years from Earth. Even if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take at least 11 generations before we reached this star. It is incredibly humbling to think about how incomprehensible  the universe is and how tiny and brief are our lives. As a biology major in college, I learned about species of life that have short lifespans, days, hours or even minutes long. But on a galactic or universal scale, human lives are a blink of the eye, a flash of light.

With these cheery thoughts in my head, I looked up the farthest known object we have discovered. In 2013, astronomers identified a galaxy 13 billion light years away. 13 frickin’ billion light years. It is a completely insane distance. It will make your head hurt to even think about it. Of course, the science in this area isn’t verifiable. Maybe the measurements are completely off. Maybe the universe is hiding something yet to be discovered that will change everything.  It’s incredible to contemplate.