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Yet another record-smashing female athlete is gracing headlines for her tenacious fight in the gender wars: miss Serena Williams. GOAT tennis star and overall goddess, Serena published a personal essay about last year’s controversial US Open match — the one where her biggest opponent ended up being the ref.
You can and should read more of Serena’s words here, but what may be overlooked amid her exquisite take on the tourney that caused quite a tennis racket is the part about loving what you do.
See, the recent Women’s World Cup hullabaloo kicked up many a soccer memory for yours truly. Some better than others, I could not help but dwell on the lingering “what ifs?”
What if I remained passionate about the game that took me all the way to college? What if I blocked out the noise from the haters and detractors? The flat-out bullies?
To be clear: I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. Soccer inspired Molly T. and shaped so much of who I proudly am today.
But Serena’s emphatic advice to “love what you do” in the context of sport gave me pause. I loved soccer; the smell of the freshly cut grass beneath my muddied cleats, the burn of my pounding heart post-breakaway goal. My mom’s beaming face on the sidelines.
That’s what made me really, really good: my passion for every sweat-drenched moment while playing.
As the years wore on and the noise grew louder, the game that gave me so much life turned devastatingly soul-crushing. If I could go back, I’d tell my young woman-athlete self to play because you love it, not because you have to.