I’ve never played tennis as part of an organized school or club, but it’s been a passion of mine since an early age. It was introduced to me by my grandma. She loved to play tennis and she even taught my dad when he was a kid as well. My grandma gave me my first tennis racket at age 5 and she would practice with me in the backyard. Because I learned at such an early age, I remember how much focus it took to grasp new concepts that I was learning. Additionally, since I was so small, I had to focus super hard to move around quickly to get the ball. Focusing helps to dial into that positive, determined mindset that is needed when an important job needs to be done right. The individual athlete has to find the drive to improve from within, rather than feeding off the energy of a team, so the level of focus that is required is higher in many respects.
Serena Williams has been one of the people I’ve looked up to since I learned how to play tennis. Her hard work and dedication to the sport showed me how strong one can be, despite being both a woman and person of color – both of which often face discrimination or doubt. Since I can relate to her as a person of color and a woman, I feel more of a connection and look at her as a role model because of our similarities.
In everyday life, focusing is essential for many situations, especially at school or at a job. Without focus, we can’t get things done efficiently because there are distractions that constantly bog down the process. Even writing this right now, I am trying to focus by putting my phone aside, avoid watching YouTube or Netflix and whatever alerts I have coming in. Practicing the habit of staying focused allows me to be more productive and efficient, which in turn has helped me develop a good work ethic.
It has been a pleasure writing this column, but I’m so sad this is my last post. I hope this served you well and you were able to learn a bit from this tour through my athletic career. Thank you for reading my posts and being open to learning. This pandemic has been putting my skills and values to the test but I take comfort knowing that we are all in this together. Keep staying positive and stay busy with activities you are passionate about. Maybe try something new or do something old that you love! Use this time wisely though; be productive and focus!