Homer’s “Iliad” depicts heroic individuals who demonstrated great character and prowess. These fabled warriors battled against monumental odds and challenged their ability to overcome adverse situations. Heroes such as Ulysses, Jason, Achilles, Hercules and Helen of Troy, who traveled the world to defend what was rightfully theirs or to conquer what wasn’t. They were legendary and greatly celebrated by so many.
The reality of this Greek mythology is that there is great speculation as to whether they lived or were merely make-believe heroes, originating in mind of this great Greek literary genius. Regardless, the character traits of these heroes were inspiring. Readers were enamored with their strong characters and in many instances, emulated the character traits. Such can be said of Serena Williams.
Like so many of you, I have watched Serena Williams grow from the young tennis prodigy to the phenom she is today. A woman of color, who like many of Homer’s characters, has overcome the insurmountable odds of racism along with numerous attempts of character assassination. Additionally, take into consideration her physical ability to overcome a cesarean delivery and the success she has attained on the tennis court since giving birth. Serena is a warrior undeniably. She was recently described as the greatest athlete of the modern era, male or female. Just like those mythological warriors, Serena has been disciplined in her training regimen. She has learned to balance cardio and strength exercises combined with on court drills that would exhaust any player at the upper level. She is unmatched when she is on the court; prepared to implement the strategies that she and her team have worked on for a victorious outcome.
On the court her eyes reflect a deep burn to destroy any opposition on the other side of the net; All the while only having played less than ten tournaments since the birth of her daughter, appropriately named, Alexis Olympia. Had Homer been alive today, he would have made a heroine based upon the successful image of Serena Williams — a powerful female warrior armored and prepared for battle. That’s what legends are made of.
The reality is that Serena is all those things armored with racquets and prepared to annihilate her opponent. She is greatly admired and emulated by men, women, boys, and girls worldwide for her approach to life as well as her competitive spirit.
Athletes such as Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, and Serena Williams have an inner drive that somehow kicks in, especially when things get tough. They are relentless in making great things happen on the field or court. They have that innate ability to bring out their best when the game is on the line and that is what separates them from the mediocre. What’s different about Serena is that winning is predicated on her ability to win individually.
Athletes such as Williams and perhaps, Muhammad Ali, have a way of willing themselves to the victory stand. Serena relishes the battle on the court and has stated in many occasions her love for the game of tennis. She is a warrior at heart without question, but the story of Serena Williams is still evolving, and the ending is not in sight.