END OF ERA: AN HOMAGE TO BLACK GREATNESS

By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter

Black actress Leslie Jones could not have said it better “I know Serena’s dad told her the same thing my dad did: Be undeniable. If you’re so good, nobody can deny you. At the end of the day not even her biggest critics could deny what she became. I do hope I can have the same strength as her. I do hope that everyone sees the same strength that I see in her. I do hope that they know years from now, we will still be talking about Serena Williams.”

TIGER AND SERENA

One thing about Black Athletes they always excel with their talents and they will go to the end of the universe to be victorious in their sport. It can become very hard for that athlete to leave that sport, especially when they have broken records or set higher standards for the next generation to follow. Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, and Eldrick Tiger Woods have done this.

All three of these athletes changed the face of their respective sport. All three competed in the face of bigotry and racial disfunction, and had to deal with quick rule changes because of their overwhelming athletic talent. These three superstars become the face of their sport in spite of many fans not wanting them to succeed because they do not look like them, act like them, or sound like them.  Sports broadcasters also critical stating these three were too young, too inexperienced, not professional, too Black.

The world currently has the privilege of being a witness to three of the greatest athletes in the last white dominated sports. Race car driver and seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, Professional tennis star, The Huntress, and 23 Major champion, Serena Williams and 15 majors golfing champion, Tiger Woods have changed their sport forever.

RECENT HISTORY

LEWIS HAMILTON

Formula one race car driver Lewis Hamilton put his number 44 Silver Arrow in the Dutch Grand Prix during the first weekend in September and landed in 4th place after his pit crew team misjudged tire management.

Tennis star Serena Williams valiantly tried to win her third-round match in the U.S. Open in New York but came up short. After three hours and five minutes and two tie-breakers on the hard-court. Ms. Williams finally wore down 7-5, 7-6, 6-1.

Golfing legend Tiger Woods tried to swing his clubs at three tournaments this year and did not finish two. His surgically repaired leg would not let him finish the matches and he might be looking at retirement. The competitive window is closing in on all three of these sports superstars.

May 14, 2019; Farmingdale, NY, USA; Tiger Woods addresses the media during a press conference before the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bethpage State Park – Black Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods changed the face of professional golf by hitting very long tee shots. (That’s when the golfer begins the first shot at the hole driving the ball towards that hole.) Tiger would hit the ball so far; he would outdistance his opponent time and time again. Nobody else could do this and he won many tournaments without challenges.

The Masters in Georgia changed their golf course “TIGER PROOFING,” it, extending the distance from hole to hole. Mr. Woods made other golfers enter the weight room he made golfers bulk up and created new arm and leg exercise to strengthen their arms and legs. Present day golfers are better now because of Eldrick Tiger Woods work ethics.

SERENA AND VENUS WILLIAMS

Serena Williams, the other half of the William sisters, changed the face of tennis making her opponent move on the court. At the time most ladies stayed at the base line with serves and volleys against each other for hours. Not very interesting for tennis fans. Mr. Williams Serena’s dad and tennis coach wanted to change this.

Challenging the opponent by moving up on the end line of the court and hitting cross court shots with power and speed. Again, Serena made tennis stars go into the gym and bulk up and build up strength in their legs and arms. Women’s Tennis today is so much more challenging and wonderful to watch, even a three-hour match can be interesting. One did not go to sleep during the Williams-Tomljanovic match. The cheering crowd would not let you.

Hamilton has won five straight world championships and created more speed in a speed sport, world auto racing. Lewis stressed that he wanted a good pit crew, a pit crew like no other, (Team Members to change ties, add gas, or make adjustments to the car during the race) to assist in another championship.

The Mercedes Benz Racing team granted his wish by recruiting the best car mechanics from all over the world. Building the now famous Silver Arrows. In a sport where a tenth of a second could mean first place or second place.

The Mercedes Benz Racing team won eight straight Constructors Cup Championships (The best pit crew of the year), something unmatched in Formula One Racing. The Red Bull Racing team will upset the Mercedes team for the constructors’ cup championship this year and Max Verstappen will win the individual championship.

Last year ended in controversy and misinformation costing Hamilton the championship on the last lap of the year. Black Athletes have been using these changing events and continue to adopt.

Hamilton also introduced a new style of racing: win the three practice runs during the week of the race then take off at the start of the race creating a big lead creating distance and space with the rest of the pack of cars. Formula One has finally caught up to these Hamilton racing tactics.

The Red Bull Racing team and the Ferrari Racing team have teamed up to box out Hamilton and the Mercedes Team so they cannot run away from the pack this year. Hamilton has yet to win a race in 2022.

THE FUTURE

SERENA WILLIAMS AND NAOMI OSAKA

Williams, Hamilton, and Woods have created new championship dreams for young Black athletes all over the world tennis stars like Naomi Osaka from Japan, Coco Gauff from the United States, James Blake, and Francis Tiafoe from the Bahamas, golfers Harold Varner III, Cameron Champ and Joseph Bramlett on the PGA Tour, Mr. Woods cousin Cheyenne Woods and Bailey Davis from Maryland on the LPGA Tour.  

It maybe already in progress as Francis Tiafoe defeated veteran Rafael Nadal last week in the U.S. Open in New York. Tiafoe went to the quarterfinals before this year’s dream ended.

AXCIL JEFFERIES

We cannot forget Formula One driver Axcil Jefferies from Zimbabwe Africa who open the door for Lewis Hamilton from England to be all he could be. Sister girl Tai Norfleet is the first Black female in NASCAR along with Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR circuit. Tai Norfleet is so special she had to not only battle with male bias of auto racing along with the racial issues

TIA NORFLEET

The future is bright for Black athletes in tennis, golf, and auto racing. If these young guns follow the grit, stamina, and determination of Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and Lewis Hamilton, they will earn their championships.

 The domination might be over in these three sports, only time will tell.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad News Network Disabled Community Activist. Email at glcgray@gmail.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod.

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