Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Serena Williams

Vogue February 2018
Perhaps, the cover of Serena Williams for Vogue would have more appropriate for March, not February, so as to celebrate Women's History Month. Clearly, she is representative of what has become the real struggle for women today- balancing a career and family, especially when one's career is at its pinnacle and the baby comes, and for Serena, changes the game for Serena's continued dominance on the tennis court. How can a baby not change the psyche and certainly, the body of an elite athlete. The wonder will become not how many grand slam titles Serena won before now, but how she won them after when she's had to regroup, retrain, and figure out to be selfish in her pursuit while being selfless in her new role as a mother.

The key to her and what is provocative to me is this from this article: "'I remember ow stressed I was about getting to Grand Slam number eighteen, tying Chrissie and Martina," she says. "I had lost every Grand Slam that year. I was in the U.S. Open, and Patrick [Mouratoglou], my coach, said, 'Serena, this doesn't make sense. You're so stressed about eighteen. Why not 30? Why not 40?' For me, that clicked. I won eighteen, nineteen, and 20 right after that. Why would I want to stand side by side when I can stand out on my own? I think sometimes women limit themselves. I'm not sure why we think that way, but I know that we're sometimes taught to not dream as big as men, not to believe we can be a president or a CEO, when in the same household, a male child is told he can be anything he wants. I'm so glad I had a daughter. I want to teach her that there are not limits."

I can identify with her coming to the realization that she needed to focus beyond the immediate goal of achieving someone else's record when her conditioning, practice, and dominance suggested that she could far surpass the records. And she did. But her limits ... I suggest that we have put 'man limits' on us when we need to determine what the limit or expectation or expanded goal should be based on what it is to be a woman in the pursuit. Raised in the era when the movement took a real hold on society, I was raised to believe that I could do anything that a man could do. The only limits that I had were socio-economic, which is another argument, but I was able to achieve, within my group, anything that the boys did. I suppose that was the first step, but as time moves forward and more girls are are doing just that and surpassing them in many ways, I think that it is time to stop comparing ourselves to boys and work it out for ourselves as girls. And girls alone. Not the same as boys.  Or better than boys. As we are.

Serena is the greatest. And now, she'll show us how great she is as she climbs back to the level of play that she beat everyone with. I expect that this period of her career will be her biggest challenge and her greatest.

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