When you hear your not-even-two-year-old shout, "Se-ena, You cado it!" at the tennis match you have on (because when Serena Williams plays at the US Open, you turn the damn TV on), you know you've done something right.
This kid, and all little girls, especially little girls of color, has been given an amazing gift in Serena Williams as a role model. She is everything we hope our daughters to become: driven, passionate, hard-working, caring, dedicated, a great sportswoman helping lift up everyone around her, a creative person, a dedicated mother, sister, daughter, and wife.
She has already won 23 Grand Slam titles, for many competitors, that would be enough. Her venture capital firm has invested in more than 60 companies, many of them owned by women and BIPOC. She is a part owner of the Miami Dolphins and Angel City FC. She has her own clothing line. She has built schools in Kenya and Jamaica. She works with charities to help people dealing with domestic violence.
Serena Williams no longer plays tennis for the money, although she has earned almost $100 million from prize money alone. This woman is a fierce competitor. She loves the game. She loves to compete. She loves the get the best out of herself. And now, she digs to show her daughter what a woman can be.
She is a shining example that a mother wears so many hats. Not just as a nurturer and caregiver, but also an example of what women represent in the world. Serena is showing her daughter and our daughters that you can be an athlete, a mother, a businesswoman, a film producer, a philanthropists, and the list goes on. Being a good mother doesn't mean dedicating all your time to spending it with your children, though that is important. It also means showing them that you are a human being, a unique individual with passions and interests of your own.
She shows us all that you can do anything you decide to dedicate yourself to, anything that lights a fire in your soul...and that more than one thing can do that. You can be ignited by competition, by tennis...by running! You can be ignited by creative ventures like painting or making films, writing, crafting. You can be ignited by helping roles like being a mother and a matriarch. And you can and should do all the things that get you fired up.
It is easy to root for Serena. She is inspiring and you can feel her passion and drive. It is a visceral experience to watch her play tennis. And it is weird to think of Serena Williams as an underdog during this US Open because of everything she is and has accomplished. But that is what she is. She went into this ranked 605 in the world. Six hundred and freaking five. Serena-fucking-Williams. And she is showing up, upsetting Danka Kovinic ranked 80, and Anett Kontaveit, the number 2 in the world. Before the US Open, she announced she will be retiring from tennis, and how can you not root for her to take it all on her way out?
I am so grateful that my daughter gets to see this in real life and gets to root for the greatest of all time. Sports show us so much more than just how to be competitive and get the best out of ourselves. They teach us how to support each other, to root for one another, and to empathize with the notion that every single one of us is just out here trying to be the best versions of ourselves. I hope my daughter never loses that passion to root for the girls and women around her, to root for anyone around her, really. But especially her fellow girl.