Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 23, 2013

SINGER: The making of a great champion

Niagara Gazette — Tennis courts around here aren’t as thronged as they were back in the day — the sport having lost some of its regional popularity. But the recent French Open on TV was truly worth watching, not least for the exploits of one Serena Williams in winning the 2013 championship.

Despite all her demonstrated prowess, Ms. Williams has been somewhat underestimated for her repeated feats at major tennis venues around the world. Just muscular, just a big serve, etc. Pretty good at underestimating myself, I admit I didn’t expect that much when I picked up her autobiography (“On the Line”); but wow!

What a person! And what parents — two gems from the get-go. Her book shows as well as for Tiger how much a good, strong father counted for her, and in fact, Serena dedicates the book to her “daddy.” Ms. Williams reveals herself here as psychologically aware and mature well beyond her years (the great star is only 31!). And she’s implacably honest with and about herself, as I guess all great athletes must be.

Unique is the right word for Serena, and I wouldn’t want to compare her to this or that great, or cavil at why she has only won only so many French Opens, or missed this or that tournament. (Despite terrible injuries and other problems, she has already copped a massive bag of Grand Slam victories in her young life!)

Serena is unique even in the healthy, respectful rivalry she always had with a celebrated sister, Venus. And we should of course salute her fine mother, who knew how to make each of five daughters special, allowing their specific dreams to become realities.

In Serena’s riveting book there is a sweet, early part on how at 8 she nervily snuck into her first tourney, ending up against Venus in the finals (first swallow of a long summer!) Being bigger, older, and more experienced, Venus won easily, and Serena was happy for her, but disappointed in herself. She saw Venus’ gold trophy and wished she could have it instead of the silver one awarded to runner-ups. So Venus concocted a story to the effect that she preferred silver, handing the gold one to her sister! Sweet or what?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Spring tune up and summer prep for your car The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: New York still delays decision on hydrofracking Many people across the state remain puzzled why the decision to allow hydrofracking has been delayed for so long.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: To every thing there is a season; this is OURS I'm not sure what The Byrds had in mind way back in 1965 when they popularized Pete Seeger's 1950s rendition of Ecclesiastes 3, but I am inclined to agree with novelist Thomas Wolfe who wrote: "[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth."

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Property rights and the Clean Water Act The United States of America was founded on the premise of natural rights, succinctly dictated as the unalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, inside and out When I had a couple of questions I checked in with Whitney Mallam, a long-time church member who introduced me to Solon Myron Napoleon Whitney (commonly known as "The Major"), one of his relatives from the early days of this church's history. I was intrigued by some of Whit's comments and hope to learn more about him in the future.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Seneca Niagara Casino in billionaire category One of the Niagara area's biggest businesses is now part of the billionaire class.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Bridging the ideological gap Being both liberal and conservative, as currently designated, makes one perhaps sound wishy-washy; but one can't go down the line on everything.

    April 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Home alone on the Island Yeah, you know who I mean. Hard to start this project without you but deadline looms and you're still bein' Nana, the role you were born to play. I know, I know, if you'd known grandchildren were this much fun, you'd have had them first.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The Bills stadium and the proverbs We are what we are because of the way that we think, and we got the nothingness that have as a result of it.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Say it ain't so, Joe I had just parked my car in front of the Gazette offices on Niagara Street last week Thursday when a man approached me and stood by my door.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page