My father was a non-credentialed, armchair philosopher. He greatly relished the frequent opportunities to dispense one or more of his bits of wisdom. God knows, as kids, my brother and I provided him with ample situations from which to launch into full-fledged philosophy-filled lectures.
We knew immediately when one of those times had arrived because his opening words were unfailingly, “You know…” and then words began rolling off his tongue as though they had been marinating there for weeks just for this particular occasion. His speech inflection clued us as to whether it would be a long-winded affair or a short snippet or two.
Regardless, the “you know…” induced immediate bouts of, “here we go again” eye-rolling from us. Thankfully, eye-rolling was permissible as long as you listened. There was never a smack down for eye-rolling alone. Now, saying something stupid coupled with eye-rolling, well, then you might be putting yourself in harms way.
I think he was tolerant because, not only did he enjoy doling out wisdom, but he genuinely felt that someday we’d get it. We’d fully comprehend the relevance of his words. Our lives would be enriched by those words.
He was right.
Several of his favorites were, “Anything worth doing is worth working for.” He’d alter it to fit the occasion, often saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing it well.” Those quotes were slight modifications of words spoken by Theodore Roosevelt.
“Never be afraid of hard work,” was another oft used. And from Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.” Generally, he added, “if to none other,” to the beginning of that one. Of course, he meant we could lie to him or anyone but never to ourselves cause we knew what the truth was.
When I watch Venus Williams play now, I can’t help but think of my father’s favorite quotes because she truly lives them.
Watching Venus is watching the truth. It’s watching the embodiment of my father’s advice to me, my brother and anyone else who happened to be within earshot.
All she has achieved, she’s worked hard for and she’s clearly unafraid of hard work.
Venus has always been plagued by injury, often severe enough that she was forced to miss precious training and match play. Those career interruptions have been costly in terms of titles won and ranking points.
But continually, Venus has come back from injury to painstakingly resume her career.
That’s dogged determination–unafraid to work hard to get back to a high level of play.
It’s common knowledge that three years ago she was diagnosed with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease. During that span of time, she has continued to fight through injury, and against Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Meanwhile, she continued to compete. For fans, including me, it was at times painful to watch her struggle to beat a player she once would have destroyed.
But I never stopped watching because she never stopped playing. Clearly, she was not giving up.
If she was willing to suffer through all the obstacles, then I was definitely still firmly on board the “Venus Vessel.”
What I found most disheartening was the throngs of people, including commentators and pundits, suggesting maybe she needed to retire.
But she didn’t and in several interviews she steadfastly stated she only needed more time to adjust to the syndrome and more high-level matches to regain the rhythm of elite play.
Well, she did it! She won Dubai, her first title since 2012. She won this same event in 09 and 2010.
It’s a stellar accomplishment by a very worthy champion. Venus showed the world that through trials and tribulations, “if you find the courage to believe, you can continue to achieve.”
Venus Williams is the consummate role model for us all. She’s courageous, determined and admirably formidable against any and all negative obstacles.
She believes in herself regardless of what others think or say.
For damned sure, she’s that.
She’s the “real deal.”
She’s legit…”too legit to quit.”