1. 'Sharapova is in town' - reported the local media on February last year. The russian born , blonde tennis player Maria Sharapova (currently living in USA), number 5 in the world classament , made her glamorous appearance at the tennis stadium of my hometown as leader of Russia's Fed Cup Team against Israel. The stadium which hosts international and national tennis tournaments was built in 1975 on a patch of strawberry land. (Strawberries are the icon/visit card of the town which was in its beginning a rural place with vast strawberry fields. Click on the above Wikipedia picture to get an idea of the stadium).
There was a lot of emotion involved. The first match out of two, was to be held on Saturday and that made the religious circles very angry. These circles protested and also prophesized that profanation of the holy day of Sabbath will assure defeat of the israeli team. Well, defeat it was.
The stadium was packed with thousands of male tennis fans who were quite rude towards the diva. They shouted at her sexist remarks , and imitated her screaming everytime she hit the ball. When interviewed , she said that this kind of crowd behavior drives her to play better, and leads her to victory.
On Sunday, at the end of the decisive match, when the two finalists shook hands, people overheard Sharapova telling the defeated israeli player, Shachar Peer: 'You deserved it' . Apparently she said that in revenge for something that had happened on a previos match . Not very nice and not very sporting, coming from someone at the top of the tennis world like Sharapova.
2. My home town has a successful women basketball team with a woman coach that is an interesting and tough 'strawberry' herself . The initial name of the team was Lachen , the next Anda, and the present name Electra. There is a story behind the change of names and it's called Sponsorship.
A certain millionaire whose young wife , Anda, had died of cancer wanted to immortalize her fighting against the disease. He thought that the fighting spirit of the Lachen women basketball team would do nicely, so he offered sponsorship on the condition that the team bears the name of his beloved wife .
A few years later, the millionaire remarried , the sponsorship ended, and the team adopted a new name, that of the new sponsor Electra, consummer goods company.
I know very little about sports or sponsorship, but I felt something was wrong here.
Life goes on, the husband gets a new wife, the team gets a new sponsor, but what about the memory of the deceased woman whose name has been removed from the team? There's probably some answer , I just don't know what it is.