OF GODS(DESSES) AND (WO)MEN 2 [OGAM]

Sometimes I look back on my life

and wonder just how one man

could achieve all I’ve done.

James Brown

In this episode of OGAM, we focus on an exceptional woman and a super athlete, I will tell you a bit about her.

She is the last girl in the family with four (4) older sisters, her father reportedly started coaching her for the sport at 3 years of age, she was home schooled so the training fit in nicely into the day’s activities.

She won her first tournament at 8years old and was ranked no 1 in Florida for the under 10 players at the age of 10. She turned professional at 14, and became world no 1 for the first time at 21. She is the only female tennis player to have won over $60million in prize money.

Popularly named the “Queen of the Court” by the media she has an impressive record of achievements in her 20 year career as a professional tennis player. She holds the most singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female.

She has been ranked world No. 1 on six (6) different occasions by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), she is the oldest No. 1 player in WTA’s history. She is the reigning Australian open, US open, WTA Tour Championships and Olympic ladies singles champion. In her exceptional career she has won 34 Grand slam titles making her 7th on the all time list of Grand slam winners. The Grand slam titles are made up of 19 Grand slams in singles, 13 in women’s doubles and 2 in mixed doubles.

In 2014 she became one (1) of only (5) women ever to occupy the No. 1 spot on the WTA  rankings for at least 200 weeks She is the winner of 4 Olympic gold medals and has been credited with launching a new era of power in women’s tennis.

She is Serena Williams younger sister to Venus Williams also an accomplished athlete.

She was born Serena Jameka Williams to Richard and Oracene Williams. At the time of her birth she was the youngest of 5 girls, one of her sisters will later die in a fatal shooting.  She was raised up as a Jehovah Witness and is still an ardent follower of the sect. she was  home  schooled by her father who introduced her to tennis at the age of 3 taking up the responsibility of being her coach, to this day she is still coached by her father. The family moved to Florida when she was 9 where she was placed in a tennis academy. Because her father wanted her to focus on school work she was withdrawn from national junior tennis tournaments when she was ten (10), at that time Serena was ranked No.1 among under 10 players in Florida. When she was 14, her father pulled her out of the tennis academy to take on full coaching responsibilities at home, that year will see Serena Williams become a professional tennis player.

That she is an exceptional tennis player has never been in doubt, some has described her as the greatest female tennis player of all time and others as the biggest thing to happen in female tennis in an era.

Successful as she is, her victories has been overshadowed by complaints of arrogance, disrespect petulance according to some and generally an unsporting and unapologetic behavior even when obviously wrong . Opponents have complained that she is a sore loser and she has been known to verbally abuse match officials and even threaten them. In 2009 her actions cost her match points, money and a 2 year probation, in 2011 she was fined again for unsporting behavior.

She tries to explain these behavioral issues in a Rolling Stone article by painting a weird picture of assigning names to her different personalities.

Hear her: “Summer is my assistant who lives inside my body, it’s weird. She’s very effective. She’s unbelievable. She’s really like organized and she’s amazing. I love her. I remember Megan. I think she was a bad girl. Like kind of like just liked to have a lot of fun. Haven’t seen her in a long time.

“[Psycho Serena] I haven’t seen her either in a while. I have been trying to keep that one under wraps. I think that’s a girl that gets really crazy on the tennis court and just really fights really hard, just takes it a little too far sometimes. Taquanda [is] not allowed to come out. She’s on probation. She’s not nasty. She’s just real keeps it real. And you just definitely don’t want to cross her. Because you cross her, then she snaps. I don’t speak to her very often. I try never to see her. She’s nuts.”

Today she is world No. 1, a super athlete and a champion sportswoman but that does not diminish the negative effect that her bad attitude has on her life of success. She battles these flaws sometimes she wins and at other times she loses. In her story these character flaws have become dark clouds that blot out her successes, turning the focus on themselves.

How much of a flaw can derail success, to what extent can positive influence and encouragements dampen an attitudinal problem?  Does early exposure to fame have a role to play in particular forms of behavioral flaws or in character formation?

We celebrate the success of Serena Williams on the court. The court was her platform to become an inhabitant of Olympus but she is still a mortal even though we see her as a goddess.

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