Since that heat at Pipe yesterday when Parko lost in Round 3 to Gavin Gillette, ending his strongest effort yet for a first world title, I’ve been thinking about the poor guy. I stood on the jetty for his semi-final win over Mick back during the Quik Pro at pumping Kirra, and Joel was fit, focused, and hungry. That it was Mick to beat him to the title is either fitting or ironic or tragic…I’m not really sure which, but what I keep thinking is “Joel deserves a world title.” But does he? Is any athlete entitled to that which he isn’t able to attain? The Darwinian idea of survival of the fittest suggests no one “deserves” anything they cannot take or create, but Joel is one of the best surfers of a generation, frequently mentioned as the favorite of the greats, so shouldn’t he get one title so he can spend his twilight years on his porch in Coolangatta talking to friends with his shoulders back and head high because he, like Rabbit, Mick, and Occy grabbed the elusive ring?