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Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the U.S. Open women's singles final Saturday night in New York.
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Mark Wiedmer

How much you enjoyed many of the weekend's sports moments probably depended on whether or not your rooting interests won or lost.

Regardless of whom you cheered or jeered, this will almost assuredly go down as one of the more memorable sports weekends ever, especially for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football fans, who found out second-year coach Tom Arth wasn't afraid to risk all to win all.

Most of the sports world will little note nor long remember Arth going for two points after pulling within one of The Citadel at the conclusion of both teams' opening possessions of overtime Saturday night in Charleston, South Carolina.

Had the move backfired, had the Bulldogs stopped the reverse to wide receiver Bryce Nunnelly that became a tw0-point pass to Jordan Giberti for the game-winner, the UTC coach would certainly have felt the disappointment of Mocs Nation.

But that sort of decision is also what often separates good coaches from great ones. A lot of success in sport may be about raw talent, and which side has more of it. But it's also often about feel, an innate since of when to throw caution to the wind and when to leave the gambling for another day.

Arth didn't go 40-8 during his time at Division III program John Carroll without having a keen sense of timing, and if UTC goes on to have a successful season, that gamble at The Citadel will no doubt play a major role in returning the Mocs to legitimate playoff contenders.

Yet as awesome as that was, the U.S. Open women's final that wrapped up a little before the Mocs kicked off, as well as the Tennessee Titans' weather-delayed loss against the host Miami Dolphins on Sunday were memorable for quite different and more somber reasons.

In the case of 36-year-old Serena Williams' umpire-aided loss to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, umpire Carlos Ramos — no stranger to confrontations in high-profile matches — was legally within his rights to assess Williams three code violations for: 1. being coached during the match, which her coach admitted to doing, but is against the rules; 2. a lost point for a second violation in the same match, which, in this case, was smashing her racket; 3. a verbal altercation in which Williams accused Ramos of being "a thief" for docking her a game for the third violation.

That said, because Williams couldn't control her temper as the much younger Osaka deftly managed an explosive and extraordinary situation, it unfairly detracted from the Japanese woman's magnificent play against her childhood idol.

Yet whomever you blame for the pyrotechnics, you must also salute Williams for an extreme amount of graciousness at the awards ceremony.

Upon watching Osaka melt into tears at the high drama and low behavior, Williams took the microphone as boos rained down and asked the crowd to "give everyone the credit where credit's due and let's not boo anymore. We're going to get through this, and let's be positive. So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing."

Later, Williams told the media: "I felt bad because I'm crying and she's crying. You know, she just won. I'm not sure if they were happy tears, or they were just sad tears because of the moment. I felt like, 'Wow, this isn't how I felt when I won my first Grand Slam.' I was like, 'Wow, I definitely don't want her to feel like that.'"

Almost anyone who watched it surely feels as if they never want to feel that way again. Osaka's a wonderful young champion who as a third-grader wrote an essay about wanting to be like Williams when she grew up. To see her tears, obviously cried from sadness rather than gladness, ruined what should have been the best moment of her tennis life.

Williams and Ramos share blame in that unfairness. In the twilight of the most exceptional career in women's history, Williams should know better than to call the thin-skinned Ramos a thief. For his part, Ramos should be adult enough to take it with the caveat that he's had enough, that he will take a game from her of she doesn't stop her childish, petulant behavior. But in a match of such importance, she richly deserved to be warned before that penalty was assessed.

If nothing else, this should permanently remove Ramos from umpiring future matches in major events, which would appear to be a good thing.

What's anything but a good thing is what happened to the Tennessee Titans in their 27-20 loss at Miami. Beyond the defeat, the Titans appeared to lose valuable tight end Delanie Walker for what could be a significant period of time, if not the season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota went to the sideline for good in the third quarter due to an elbow injury after throwing two interceptions. Left tackle Taylor Lewan left with a concussion.

So much for first-year coach Mike Vrabel starting his Titans career on a positive note.

Instead, our two local NFL rooting interests — the Titans and Atlanta Falcons — followed up their winless exhibition campaigns with defeats to open the regular season. At least their states' top college teams — Tennessee and Georgia — posted impressive victories this weekend.

Beyond that, Kentucky snapped college football's longest active losing streak to one school, with the Wildcats shocking Florida 27-16 in the Swamp, where Kentucky hadn't won since 1979 (losing all games to the Gators since 1986). And Kansas — the blue KU to UK's blue — snapped a 46-game road losing streak by winning at Central Michigan.

Good thing neither of those hoops titans had Carlos Ramos refereeing their games.

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com.

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