Saturday, July 07, 2007

Venus & Other Celestial Objects

Earlier today at the All England Club, Venus Williams captured her fourth Wimbledon singles championship, dominating Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1 in the final. Only Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Billie Jean King have won more. While she may be the lesser-known Williams sister, Venus has cemented her status as the top athlete with a planetary name. Perhaps she should branch out and bond with other celestial objects in the sports world. Here’s a brief look at how she can do so. And no, it's not just an excuse for a bunch of Uranus jokes.

Williams would be a natural fit for the WNBA, and not just because she’s one of America’s top female athletes. The league is completely overflowing with celestial objects. Venus could join the Phoenix Mercury, Connecticut Sun, Houston Comets, or San Antonio Silver Stars. With names like that and the Chicago Sky, the WNBA seems to want its fans to be fixated on the heavens. It’s a curious marketing strategy, since so few of its players can get high enough to dunk.

For astronomical inspiration from the men’s side, Venus can always watch the Phoenix Suns. Or she can view films of classic battles between Wilt Chamberlain (The Big Dipper) and Bill Russell, who, like Saturn, was known for having lots of rings. Darryl Dawkins can tell her all about the planet Lovetron, as he gets heckled by Knicks fan Mars Blackman. If Venus prefers college hoops, she can check out the 1985 NCAA championship, won by a Super Nova.

Venus can also look to the NFL for fellow celestial objects. To win tournaments, she needs to go undefeated, like Mercury Morris with the 1972 Dolphins. By winning consecutive Wimbledon championships in 2000 and 2001, Venus emulated Bart Starr in the first two Super Bowls. She can see Starr’s bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which also has enshrined Warren Moon. Rather than an Oiler, Moon would now be known as a Titan (Saturn’s largest moon). On October 28, Venus can watch the Titans against the Raiders – in Tennessee, not the Black Hole.

Baseball may not have as much relevance for Venus, unless you consider the sun’s future. In 4-5 billion years, the sun will enter a red giant phase. Williams can observe a Red Giant phase this Tuesday, if Ken Griffey, Jr. precedes Barry Bonds in the National League lineup. The sun will eventually fade into a white dwarf. As Venus and baseball historians know, the St. Louis Browns once used white dwarf Eddie Gaedel as a pinch-hitter.

Venus can also find astronomical objects in other team sports. The NHL, for example, has the Dallas Stars. However, her LA background and success in Britain will make her particularly interested in the MLS. She’ll be sure to catch up with David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In Saturday’s music news, the Live Earth concerts entertained crowds around the world. Wembley Stadium was one venue where rockers pledged their support for Earth. But elsewhere in London, it was all about Venus.