2006.09.13: September 13, 2006: Headlines: Travel: Speaking Out: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Younger people today are more international in their outlook

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Younger people today are more international in their outlook

Younger people today are  more international in their outlook

"Few of my friends are world travelers. Oh, some of them have been to Europe for a week or two, and some traveled to exotic places years ago in the military or in the Peace Corps. But our kids? I have three friends whose kids are working in Japan. I have two friends whose kids are in Central America, and another friend whose child is working in China."

Younger people today are more international in their outlook

Jet-setting generation defies national boundaries

Sep 13, 2006

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In the world of men's tennis, Andy Roddick seems to be this country's best hope. He is also a marketable young man. He is 24 years old, tall and good-looking. He grew up in Nebraska. He now lives in Texas. That's appropriate because he has a gunslinger's kind of game -- a big serve, a powerful forehand.

He's also a pretty good story. He won the U.S. Open in 2003 and then just sort of slip-slided away. But this summer, he made a comeback. He came into the U.S. Open on a hot streak. The media's focus was on Andre Agassi, the last of a long line of American champions, but Agassi, hampered by a bad back, fell in the third round to a young German. And who did the German have to play in the next round? Yes, Roddick. And Roddick overpowered him in three straight sets.

After beating the German, Roddick beat an Australian. He beat a Russian in the semifinals. That brought him to the finals, in which he had to face the No. 1 player in the world: Roger Federer of Switzerland. Federer had won the past two U.S. Opens. Could Roddick stop him?

Tiger Woods hoped not.

He got his wish: Federer won. Woods and his wife sat with Federer's girlfriend and cheered against the American.

To people of a certain age, it was kind of jarring.

I remember the so-called Miracle on Ice. That's when the U.S. hockey team upset the Russians in 1980. You didn't have to be a flag- waving sort of a guy to root for the U.S. team. You just had to be from this country.

Admittedly, Sunday night's tennis match was a long way from that hockey game. For starters, we're not in a cold war with Switzerland. Besides, a tennis tournament is not the Olympics, so Federer was not representing Switzerland and Roddick was not representing the United States. At least, not officially. Still, like I said, the whole thing was a little jarring.

But I suspect it was jarring only to people of a certain age. Younger people are just more international in their outlook. Few of my friends are world travelers. Oh, some of them have been to Europe for a week or two, and some traveled to exotic places years ago in the military or in the Peace Corps. But our kids? I have three friends whose kids are working in Japan. I have two friends whose kids are in Central America, and another friend whose child is working in China.

I cannot imagine that any of them would think it strange that Woods was cheering for a Swiss.

For that matter, Woods has always defied boundaries. I remember when he burst on the scene and was talking about his ancestry. He was a little bit of everything, he said. He was black, Caucasian and Asian. "I'm Cablasian," he said. A black comic said something like, "Maybe he thinks he's Cablasian, but if he stands on the street in New York City at midnight, he'll just be Cab-less."

If so, he could buy the cab company. He made $75 million in endorsements last year. That's not golf earnings, that's endorsements. Golf Digest has predicted that he'll be the first golfer ever to earn $1 billion and that he will hit that milestone in three years. He will achieve that mark because he is an international figure.

By the way, you know how Federer and Woods got together? They are represented by the same management company.

Not incidentally, they are both Nike guys. That's a strong bond.

I remember going to the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. I had press credentials, but that only gets you access to the Olympic committees of the various countries, and most of them couldn't deliver any athletes. Fortunately, I knew somebody who knew somebody, and I was able to get into some Nike events. Among other things, Nike had a daily press conference, and that is where you could interview the top athletes from all countries. Nationality meant nothing. I thought, "This is the Olympic spirit. It's Nike World."

This ability of sports and commerce to transcend national boundaries is a good thing, I'm sure, but still, it's jarring to people of a certain age.

When this story was posted in October 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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