Idle Sunday afternoon, and I got to reminiscing about the sports which I've played and loved a lot; and then wondering if I can ever gauge just how much better the masters are at them than I am.
For example: if I ever got on the same tennis court with John McEnroe, or Stefan Edberg, or Roger Federer, I feel pretty confident about knocking with them, just hitting back and forth across the net. (Actually, I have some small reason for this confidence: I have hit with a couple of pretty good US university players). But if we played a set, I have no illusions. I'd lose 6-0, and I'd be astonished if I won as much as a single point.
What about in basketball? One-on-one with Michael Jordan, how far would I get -- would he allow me to dribble longer than five seconds, let alone get off a shot, let alone score?
And cricket? How many balls would I last against Glenn McGrath, or Anil Kumble, let alone score a run, let alone hit a boundary? Of course, I always far preferred bowling to batting (not that I was good at either). So if I bowled to Rahul Dravid or Brian Lara, would I be able to produce even one ball that they wouldn't hit out of the park, let alone beat them, let alone get them out?
Tennis is the only sport in which I feel a bit of that confidence I mention. Is that because of these three sports, I play tennis best? Or is it a function of the kind of sport tennis is?