I write this through so many tears. That may sound over the top to some, but, I was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude watching Serena Williams play her last US Open match tonight. But, mostly, my thoughts kept going back to her sister Venus- to sisterhood. I loved that she acknowledged her sister in a big way tonight, and that there would have been no Serena without Venus.
Yes, the entire world was enamored with the Williams sisters upon their debut on the world tennis stage over a quarter century ago. But NO ONE as much as black women and little black girls. Believe me when I say, life can be hard being black and a woman. But, more often than not, it is so beautiful. It’s that way because of the sisterhood. We may not always see eye to eye but we will not see each other fail. It is an unrelenting, unwavering kind of love.
These sisters, just 2-3 years my junior, set the standard for determination, excellence, elegance, and grit. I grew as a woman watching them every year. They started winning grand slam tournaments while I was still a student at Spelman College, SURROUNDED by sisters, and they were the reason, post college, that I decided to pick up a racket and make the tennis court my reprieve and happy place from this ever stressful world. I’ve been playing for 20 years now, starting from scratch, and paying for lessons any way I could. Though I now belong to a club, I still endure microaggressions that make my skin crawl, and I shake it off and keep it moving, because I know it’s nothing compared to what Venus and Serena dealt with.
Everyone who knows me well realizes how deeply tennis helps my mental health. There was no doubt in my mind when Serena announced her retirement that I had to FINALLY find a way to watch her play in person. I needed to thank her, and cheer her on in person, for all that she has gifted me. I’m so grateful I found a way. Like a real sister would.
THANK YOU Serena Williams! You have changed the lives of so many. You are the epitome of beauty, wellness, and living consciously and I’m so grateful to have existed in your lifetime. So much love.
Photos courtesy of Business Insider, The New York Times, and Tennis World.