Thursday, July 8, 2010

STORY TIME: Being the Brother of John (McEnroe) - ON GREATNESS

Patrick McEnroe, brother to John, is on Charlie Rose. He's plugging a new book and talking about Wimbledon. Patrick McEnroe, who like his big brother played tennis professionally, has since had a very successful career, also like John, as a tennis commentator. He's been doing it for more than 10 years. On top of that, he (and he alone) is captain of the US Davis Cup team and is a leader in the USTA organization.

But still.

5 minutes into the interview Charlie Rose, being Charlie Rose, asks the question we all want the answer to:

Charlie: Tell me what it is that takes two young men of athletic ability, you and your brother, and one has the kind of extraordinary record that John did, one of the great players - as good a touch as anybody's ever had -  and you who had a ... very good ... [long awkward pause]


Patrick: Say it Charlie [breaks into a smile] - I was mediocre. 


Charlie: No I wasn't gonna say ... no, no, no! Wasn't mediocre ... I mean, uh, people would ... didn't reach it ... But you know what I'm saying. What's the difference?

With utter professionalism and impressive composure considering the question he's been put to answer, Patrick McEnroe, grown into himself in his greying middle age, looking comfortable - handsome even - in a suit, goes on to tell this wonderful, self-effacing story about the difference between the merely good and the greatest of great, a story that I will share with you  ...

Here.

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