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Sergei-Anna love story deserved better ending - The Detroit News
By Jerry Green
DETROIT -- Everybody loves a love story. Or so it seems.
This one should have been written by Tolstoy, or perhaps Chekhov, rather than some ink-stained wretch who lacks of a romantic soul.
It is the chapter-by-chapter saga of the poor hockey player from rural Russia falling for the teenybopper posing as a tennis player, when she isn't posing for exclusive endorsement pictures.
He is pictured in the tabloids at Wimbledon, where she is being pulverized on a grass court while the British paparazzi fire cameras at her in a fusillade of flashbulbs.
Across the world, she becomes famous, for some reason or another.
And he proudly displays her to adoring mobs at parades and hockey games in the city where he plays. All of this occurs much to the delight of People magazine and Entertainment Tonight.
It is, obviously, a match made in Moscow, if not in heaven.
But then there are rocks straight from the steppes. That other hockey player from Russia is seen courting this damsel of a tennis pretender. They have become engaged to marry, it is reported by a wire service.
Our own local Russian hockey lothario is crestfallen. Love, it seems, seldom follows a straight course. Our own local lothario is soothed by a massive, multimillion-dollar contract as balm for his hurt.
But then there is another twist. She ditches the hockey player whom she was reported to be engaged to and returns to our own local Russian lothario.
Now, muses the international, national and local media. Are they married? Are they not married?
Aaah, a London tabloid proclaims that they are actually man and wife. Ooooh, that tabloid has told a lie, proclaims the hockey lothario's family. It is not true, they are not married.
And that is good.
Then suddenly she vanishes -- just as she vanishes from tennis tournaments -- from the sight of our protagonist.
All is not fair in love or war.
What has happened is a mystery.
And then the local lothario delivers a confession, to a hockey weekly in frozen Canada.
Yes, he says, they had been married -- and now are divorced.
And the news hits the local media, the national media, and the world media with mighty shockwaves.
And the headlines are enormous in black ink, and the pictures are enormous in living color and the radio and TV reactions are enormous in sound and fury. Everybody goes cluck, cluck -- "told you so."
Not able to contact Tolstoy or Chekhov, Seattle radio station KJR contacted this ink-stained wretch the morning after the momentous news broke, for a Detroit reaction.
"Sergei Fedorov and Anna Kournikova were married and divorced," said the mouth from Seattle. "I suppose years ago when you became a sports writer, it was to cover this kind of story."
I would have preferred to hear more sarcasm in my tin ear.
"Yep, and all along I thought I got into this profession to cover games and write about athletes," I said, the Old Killjoy spilling out of me.
I have had a hard time all these years wondering why anybody gave a hoot about the affairs of Sergei and Anna.
But we have developed into a world of voyeurs, and in this celebrity culture, people exist vicariously.
They cannot be themselves.
They must adorn themselves in Fedorov replica jerseys when they attend hockey games. Or if not Sergei's, they sport jerseys of his teammates.
They play this charade with themselves. It is let's pretend. Make-believe.
And we-the-media feed this vicarious lust by feting and adoring and glorifying the celebrities who play professional sports. Indeed, we are guilty of making them into celebrities.
What we had in this love story was a hockey player, a very good guy who came from Russia to the United States and played his sport with skill and excellence as proven again Friday night, and learned to become fluent in a new language. Those are all admirable qualities.
But he was not the media lure in this drawn-out romantic comic-tragedy.
It was the somewhat photogenic female with the tennis racket with the history
of double faults.