The golden stitch in the hem of greatness is the illusion of invincibility. We see it in our sports heroes and crave it in our everyday living, whether personal or professional. If the goal is to lose a few pounds, we sneer at the box of donuts in the communal office and eat a salad. We bite into an apple and imagine it’s chocolate. We kill a Zuumba workout and go hard in yoga. We want to slaughter every opposition, kill every doubt, watch every hater and naysayer crumble beneath the weight of their criticism. If the voice of doubt wins, we don’t. And no one ever wants to lose. It’s proof there is a Serena Williams in everyone.
So when Roberta Vinci defeated Serena (2-6, 6-4, 6-4)–my all-around hero and empress of the death stare–in the Semifinals of the US Open, I was depressed for days. I’d imagined Serena victorious on championship point, flat on her back, then straight into a double fist pump to her team before she jumped up and down like a lively schoolgirl as she reached Steffi Graf’s lofty 22 Grand Slam titles. Of course, Steffi would be there to give Serena the trophy, and the two legends would hug it out beneath the New York lights, glow within a glow, when the cameras flashed. Queen Serena would rule the world and show how unbreakable she is, how absolutely astonishing her power, wisdom, resolve, skills and all-around goddess-ness happen to be. Like the US and the rest of the world, I’d seen the vision. Surely, it would come to pass.
I'm a better writer, cook, and confidante when Serena wins. If Serena lost, what's that say about me? Try human.
Try…human. Try good days, bad days. Try, I did my best. Try, no one is a machine or goddess or empress, not even Serena Jameka Williams, the beloved tennis star with a body fit for the baddest angel in the sky.
But check it. The Australian Open starts January 18. Serena is notorious and at her fiercest when playing Down Under. I imagine her winning. I can’t help it. But if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. She’s still the greatest women’s tennis player in history, and really, has nothing else to prove.