It’s Monday. Need some motivation? Check out these sports superstars, who are winning championship games on the world stage, making history, and having a collective best week ever.
“We were able to break the [mold] and win a lot of grand slams and change the face of tennis … when tennis was very dominated by white people. It doesn’t matter what your background is and where you come from, if you have dreams and goals, that’s all that matters.” ~ Serena Williams
Serena Williams, 33, is the number one tennis player in the world. And she is killing the competition at Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world and the most prestigious, in true Serena-style. Today, she played against her older sister, Venus, and won, advancing to the next round. In her previous match, she came from behind to defeat her opponent and told the booing crowd, “don’t try me.” Serena’s story is remarkable. She starting playing tennis on courts in Compton, CA and is now the reigning Australian Open, French Open, US open, WTA Tour Championships, and Olympic women’s singles champion. She is, quite simply #blackgirlmagic.
“When you chant racial slurs, taunt me and talk about my family don’t be mad when I shush you and show pride in what I represent.” ~ Sydney Leroux
Yesterday, Sydney Leroux and Shannon Boxx helped the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team win its first World Cup title since 1999. Sydney (left) plays forward. She’s tough, tatted, and super talented. Born in Canada, Sydney grew up playing baseball and wanted to be the first woman in Major League Baseball. She describes herself as a “wild child” who accomplished whatever she set her mind to. She got her first tattoo at 13, and at 14, she moved (by herself) to the U.S. to follow her dream of playing for what she thought was the best soccer team in the world – the US Soccer Team. She was outspoken, won a lot of titles, shined on social media, and yesterday, at 25, she saw another dream came true as she helped her team win the World Cup.
Shannon Boxx, the defensive midfielder defied the odds. She’s 37, recently had a baby, knee surgery and a few years ago was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, which can cause joint pain and physical exhaustion. The World Cup was her last major tournament, and she went out of the game on top. Both Sydney and Shannon are biracial, raised by their white mothers who connected with their black heritage later in their lives- Shannon while majoring in African American studies at Notre Dame and Sydney, after moving to the U.S. and seeing that she was an inspiration for other brown girls.
“Black girls DO rock and black girls CAN be ballerinas” ~ Misty Copeland
Last week, Misty Copeland was named the first African-American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), in New York. What does that mean? Well, she was just promoted to the highest ranking position at one of the top ballet companies in the world. A major accomplishment, yes. A surprise, no. Because Misty has defied expectations every step of the way. She started dancing when she was 13 ,which is pretty late for a ballet dancer. Her family didn’t have a lot of money, so she first took free classes at the Boys & Girls Club where she wore shorts and a t-shirt because her family couldn’t afford ballet clothes. Misty was turned down for a lot of roles, because she didn’t have the right look, or body type (she’s curvy and muscular and black; most ballerinas are thin and willow and white) but she let the rejections fuel her and made her differences work for her. She starred in an Under Armour campaign and continued to work toward her dream to dance for ABT. She believed in herself, worked hard, shared her story (the good and the bad) and continues to inspire many young dancers (and people) in the process.
It’s the start of another week and another month. You have a dream? Let’s work hard and go get it!