I happened to see an old Dick Cavett Show on the “Decades” network today.  Dick was interviewing tennis great Arthur Ashe after he was forced to retire due to health problems.  Even when I was a sports fan I never had any interest in tennis so I never knew much about Ashe.  What really impressed me most was his technical analysis of the physical dynamics of the game and his philosophical observations.  He took the politically incorrect position that male tennis players (of his era) should make more money than female players and offered an excellently reasoned argument to support his statement.  But the most impressive portion of the interview was his explanation of how he evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of opponents going into details like right eyed/left eyed, right handed/left handed, right footed/left footed and racket grip of both himself and his opponent as well as the physical characteristics, orientation and location of the court.

An interesting highlight of the interview for me was early in part one (it was a two episode interview) when Dick apologized a little too profusely for not understanding that Ashe’s primary mentor as a young man was black and not white.  Ashe graciously passed it off and Cavett, seemingly a little self conscious, offered the following, “You know there are actually liberals who say, ‘ I don’t notice what color people are.'”  The things we say when we’re not careful occasionally reveal a truth with which we are not comfortable.

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