Thursday, August 26, 2010
Steve Jones,Jennifer Capriati and the human race
Whenever I see a picture or a film clip of Serena Williams, I get choked up.You see, I am Serena's' biggest fan although she doesn't know it.
In 2004,I watched Serena play in the U.S. Open against Jennifer Capriati.The match was a long one and they were playing an important point when it happened;a call in Capriati's favor that was so egregious that I almost put my shoe through the T.V screen.A Serena shot was called out that was so obviously in, the fans could do nothing but groan.Capraiti won the match and Serena walked towards the stands, head down with tears in her eyes and not a word from her lips.I was so angry and sad.I wanted to hop a flight and go hug her in the locker room.I will never forget that feeling and that I was watching greatness.
In the after game interview,Capriati was asked why she didn't say something about the terrible call,which she could plainly see was in ,to the judge.Her answer was that she had her own share of bad calls.Jennifer, Jennifer, you missed your chance.Who but you remembers that you won that quarter-final?But if you had been a real sportsman, your name would be in lights.
Let me tell you what I mean.There is a Welsh runner named Steve Jones.He is the former world marathon record holder.A great runner but in the sports world he is also remembered for what he did in one race that he was winning.It was an important race,they all are at his level, and close to the end a competitor in his line of vision stumbled and fell.Jones stopped running ,dashed over and helped the guy up and they both ran on.Jones didn't win that race but he is winning the Human Race.This is the one where we will be asked to review our "race" and how we helped the brothers and sisters with whom we share this place and time.
My second son is a wonderful runner, state champ in cross country twice and track champion as well.They used to call him Q-tip in high school because he was skinny with a crop of almost white hair.In his Sophomore year he came in third at the state meet so we knew great things were coming.But when he meets the Creator, I don't see Him slapping His forehead and saying,"You came in first, here, there and there.". What I see being replayed is the morning he stopped a great run in Atlanta to help an elderly lady who was trying to put sticks in her trash and couldn't break them over her knee.Or the time he gave a free pair of running shoes that he had won, to a disabled runner he knew who couldn't afford a new pair.Or the extra care he gave to a shy and lonely boy at running camp that freed this boy to be a kid.
What I see is him standing amidst Perfect Love and being shown the times when he came so close to that.This is a race he is running very well.