The Downfall of Sports Passion

Robert OrzechowskiAnalyst IMay 21, 2010

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 20:    Pope Benedict XVI meets Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga Feleti Sevele  on May 20, 2010 in Vatican City, Vatican.  (Photo by  GiEric Vandeville - Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
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Franciscan monk Hernando Fernando Franceso Don Juan Del Potro was on his way to Rome.  He was to receive a recognition award for his vows of chastity, poverty, and above all, his cherished vow of silence.

His obedience to uphold his vows for thirty years had finally led him on the path to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.  He and a few others also to be decorated were to talk with the Holy Father for a period of half an hour. 

Brother Del Potro as he was affectionately known hid all his feelings even though deep down inside, he was excited with anticipation.

He was accompanied by two friends from his monastery.  This was a highlight moment in his life, and he decided to contemplate retiring after serving the Church for so long. 

He arrived in Rome and was surprised at how rich in elegance and beauty his hotel room was.  He marvelled at the quality tasting food that the nearby restaurant had served.   The restaurant was an all-you-can-eat buffet.

He ate until he could eat no more.  After loosening his monk belt, he headed for the vast dessert section and almost fell head first into the large gelatin section. 

He slept very soundly that night waking up late the next morning.  Being pressed for time, he decided nevertheless to take a hot bath in the jacuzzi. 

His friends were pacing in the lobby waiting for him.  He was already 10 minutes late and had not yet arrived at the Vatican.  Showing up almost forty minutes late, Brother Del Potro discovered everyone in his group had already finished and left.

The Pope luckily was in a forgiving mood and Brother Del Potro waited with a young man and his wife who were also there to see Pope Benedict.  He watched them thinking that he had seen this man from somewhere before.

Upon being summoned they went in together.  Brother Del Potro quietly received his recognition and a beautiful necklace which the Pope himself placed on Del Potro.  After kissing the Pope's ring, Brother Del Potro retreated back to make way for the young man and his wife. 

The young man bashfully stepped forward and immediately kissed the Pope's ring as His Holiness smiled.  "Ah, Roger Federer at long last we meet.  You are truly a talented tennis player." 

At the mention of Roger's name, Brother Del Potro felt like he was hit by a thunderbolt.  Images of the old black and white monastery TV came to haunt him and he began to relive the many matches he had seen on TV.

Those images in his mind sped up to an incredible pace as he felt a crescendo of hum getting louder and louder.  A voice spoke out.  Loud and shrilly it was his own and he barely recognized it.

V A M O S  R A F A !!!!!!!!!

Federer, his wife, and the pope all looked up in complete shock.  His last syllable in "RAFA" echoed through the large cathedral and did not dissipate for a full minute later. 

The pope's stunned expression slowly turned into a frown.   He calmly walked over to Brother Del Potro and slowly raised his hands and removed the cherished necklace that he had just earlier awarded. 

The pope, his assistants, and the two Swiss guards exited to a small door on the right. 

Roger Federer looked at the monk who had taken thirty years to say something and took pity on him.

"OK, look you I mean, it looks like you don't have a job.  Um ...well, why don't you come with us and you can meet my aunt Hilda.  She is a lonely widow now and is really looking for some company, you know?"

"I mean you are not working  now but I have more money than I know what to do with, you know so let's paint the town red tonight and see where it take us, you know.  It should be interesting, you know?"

The humble monk smiled in agreement.  They were about to leave when Roger stopped him. 

"One more thing.  If you ever say anything like that phrase again, you know, I will put you right back to the poor house that you came from.  You get me?"

The humble monk nodded more profusely and decided that another thirty years of silence would not be all that bad.