There are few things that sports fans can all agree upon, but one that I’ve found meets almost universal unanimity on is that Jimmy Connors is a pretty big a-hole.
And happily, in the ESPN’s new 30-for-30 documentary, “This Is What They Want,” Connors himself confirms it toward the end, but says “I’m a fun asshole.”
Well, that’s good enough for me. The movie, the latest in a great batch of 30-f0r-30s (really like the ABA St. Louis Spirits one a couple weeks ago), takes a look at maybe the most famous U.S. Open run in history, when 39-year-old Connors shocked the world in 1991 by making the semifinals.
He was washed up and forgotten about prior to the tournament, but the documentary does a fabulous job putting his career in context. And besides the accomplishments and the rivalries (he and John McEnroe are very honest about their dislike for each other in the film), the movie focuses on just what an unlikeable jerk Connors is (and was).
The movie hits its stride in talking about the famous Connors-Aaron Krickstein match at the ’91 Open, and Krickstein is fabulous talking in present day about his epic collapse that day. He and Connors were good friends before the match, but Krickstein says they haven’t talked since. The match cemented the Jimbo legend, but Connors hasn’t once picked up a phone, or said hello at a tournament when Krickstein was still playing, nothing.
Everyone else interviewed in the film, when hearing that, is dumbfounded. But they shouldn’t be: Connors is one of the biggest douchebags in all of sports.
Still, the film is terrific, and I highly recommend it (it’s on again Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2). For all his faults, Connors was a tennis legend, and nobody ever fired up a crowd like he did.
And that ’91 run was something special to see.
**Next up, we don’t feature enough gopher videos on this blog. And today, that changes. Because this promo for the University of Minnesota (the Golden Gophers, of course) made me laugh out loud at its bizarreness.
Somewhere, “Caddyshack” fans are smiling.
**As much as I hate the Boston Red Sox, I have to admit I was excited to see Game 6 of the World Series Wednesday night. First game of this crazy, oddball Series I’ve watched from start to finish, and I don’t think the Fenway Park crowd sat down once in more than three hours.
These people haven’t seen Boston win a World Series at home since 1918, and amazingly, it sounded like real fans were in the park going full-throat, not corporate suits just there to be seen (as we see at a lot of big-time sporting events these days).
Couple thoughts on the Red Sox’ clinching victory:
— David Ortiz. Hall of Famer? I never would’ve thought Big Papi, a slow, non-fielding slugger, would have a shot at the Hall a few years ago. But the guy has now had three amazing postseasons, a hell of a long career, and always seems to come up big in the clutch. And he’s never really been linked to steroids, except for one random allegation a decade ago. I think he’s close to getting in.
— Shane Victorino, who hit the three-run triple to get Boston on the board, just has that Jim Leyritz-y feel to him, that he comes up big when you least expect it.
— Three championships in 9 years for the Red Sox. Never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. Dammit.
— For the sake of the small children in New England, let’s hope this now means the Red Sox players will shave their hideous beards. Then again, it is Halloween, maybe they should keep the scary facial hair for one more day.