Joy Drop: Canada shows its love for the GOAT, Serena Williams

·2 min read
Serena Williams waves to the crowd in Toronto as she leaves the court after losing to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the National Bank Open. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images - image credit)
Serena Williams waves to the crowd in Toronto as she leaves the court after losing to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the National Bank Open. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images - image credit)

Hello, friends! What a wonderful week of emotion, reflection and great joy. I write you from the gorgeous red sandy beaches on Prince Edward Island. Visiting Frosty Treat, a local dairy bar in Kensington, brings me joy. Here I am with my favourite order: a nutty dip. Yes, ice cream brings me all the joy. I hope you are enjoying the tastes of summer!

Shireen Ahmed
Shireen Ahmed

Let's begin with the news that had everyone in their feelings about the G.O.A.T.

Just 24 hours before she played at the National Bank Open in Toronto, Serena Williams published a piece in Vogue magazine announcing her retirement from tennis after the U.S. Open this summer. While she did not beat Belinda Bencic, she had the heart of the crowd.

The shouts of "We love you, Serena!" were loud and proud. And the National Bank Open gifted her (and her daughter Olympia) Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors jerseys. Watching tennis fans cheer on a woman who has battled everything from racism in media, to struggles with maternal health, offers us a perspective and an opportunity to reflect on a formidable athlete and wondrous woman.

My first in-person tennis match was to watch Serena at the National Bank Open in 2019 and I will never forget the speed and power of her serves and the sound from the court. She is an athlete whose life journey we follow, and marvel at her sincerity and honesty despite the limelight. There will be tears upon her retirement because she has been such an inspiration on the circuit for so long. And of course, we wish her the best in everything moving forward.

Now we go to some other amazing happening that has us in our feelings: the Little League World Series qualifiers for the event scheduled next week in Williamsport, Pa., have begun. My friend, Dan Solomon, had a fantastic write-up of it in The Texas Monthly.

Kaiden Shelton, a pitcher from Texas, got Isaiah Jarvis, a hitter from Oklahoma, right in the face. Jarvis went down but was fine. Shelton was in tears on the mound and then Jarvis went to him to let him know he was fine. It was a moment that definitely had me in tears because a player comforting another athlete from the opposing team will always be a gesture of kindness and compassion. Sport is about more than winning it is about care, sportsmanship and kindness.

Bravo to Jarvis for being strong enough to see that Shelton needed that support. In a world where young men are bombarded with ideas of machismo, it is heartwarming to see that not only can they step into their emotions while being high-level athletes, they can be amazing persons as well.

 

This week, this online notebook offers you an ode to greatness and unapologetic behaviour because six years ago, Serena Williams was in Beyoncé's Sorry video being her phenomenal self.