Monday, January 16, 2012

REFLECTIONS: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

"It's a burden all right. But AIDS isn't the heaviest burden I have had to bear. No question about it. Race has always been my biggest burden. Having to live as a minority in America. Even now it continues to feel like an extra weight tied around me." -Arthur Ashe. From his 1993 book, Days of Grace
Each year we enjoy championship tennis–in August–during the US Open at a place named Arthur Ashe stadium in Flushing Meadows, NY. But for an african-american tennis player attempting to be successful in the racially-charged 60s and 70s, Arthur Ashe needed to shine like a beacon of light in sports and beyond. His tennis spoke for itself with his wins in three of the four Grand Slams championships–Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open. And his famous and well-crafted win over Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1975 is still discussed, even today, by tennis strategists. 
    Through his success and humble demeanor, he inspired people to look past the concept of skin color as a underlying restriction in their lives. He may be mostly known for his tennis, but his "service" and "love" for others–two notable tennis terms–continues to be felt through his inspiration reflected in the lives of generations to come.

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