Sunday, September 27, 2015

The 48-Hour Rule: Pope Francis, John Boehner and Beauty

I don't follow politics all that closely. I wish I did. I should. Some of the people I love and care about most in my life do. My brother, who lives in Capitol Hill is a political journalist. A close friend and former co-worker was an elected city official and another is a state assemblyman. I can see with my own eyes how one of my closest friends is rejuvenated after her weekly update from "Meet the Press." I may have met her inside the Beltway, but we became friends apart from political interests. And so it should go without saying, I wasn't overly familiar with the soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House, John Boehner. But his life and legacy—the very little I know about it—have reminded me of a strange but real truism: the 48-hour rule.
I don't know if he invented it or stole it from a sociologist, psychologist, physicist or what, but a friend from college swore by "the 48-hour rule." Cort believed that any given topic is likely to resurface or reappear within a 48 hour time period. One can't force the issue, but if we pay attention—closely—that subject will renter our conversation, reading materials, news cycle or more. And this past weekend proved no exception. Case in point: John Boehner.

I recently purchased "Fit for Heaven." The author, Trent Beattie sought to know if it "possible to integrate faith with football, beliefs with baseball, and spirituality with soccer?" To answer his question, "he talked with dozens of the world’s best Catholic athletes—from All-Pro quarterback Philip Rivers to Olympic gold medalist Curt Tomasevicz—about integrating their sporting lives with their deeply-held religious beliefs." "Fit for Heaven" is a compilation of their words of wisdom.

I decided I would read the profiles of interest to me. Naturally, I was drawn to anything and everything Notre Dame; interviews with former Coaches Lou Holtz and Gerry Faust. In addition to Faust's love and devotion to Mary, I learned that he coached U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner in the late 1960s at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, OH.  Beattie asked: What do you remember about him?

Gerry responded:

John came from an outstanding family with 11 brothers and sisters. It was one of those large Catholic families that you don’t see as often today. It was a great family, and they had an influence on John, because he was an excellent person and football player. He was an unselfish player as a linebacker and long-snapper. He was into the good of the team, which isn’t surprising when you have a large "team" at home. 
I enjoyed coaching John in the late ’60s and remember him well. We’ve kept in touch over the years, as I’ve done with many of my players. I’m very pleased to say I know John, not because he’s speaker of the House, but because he’s a good Catholic man. He still has the team-centered mentality in which ego is sacrificed for the good of others. He’s a family man, someone dedicated to the dignity of human life in all its stages, and someone who wants to see our country do better
Faust's description of the Republican Congressman made me appreciate him a little more. I know that every elected official has their own story, but Boehner's spoke to what I know and admire.

Later that day, I walked into the classroom that I share with another teacher a few minutes before his class came to a close. The teacher—my colleague—asked the students to name the Speaker of the House. This question was somewhat unsuspecting considering that we both teach Theology. I wanted to not only answer the question, but share what I learned.
And within those mystical, magical 48 hours, his name resurfaced. I suppose it should. When you are Speaker of the House you regularly meet the press. But, as someone who is nominally in and out of the political news cycle, I found all of this quite interesting and intriguing. Why? on Thursday, September 24, a friend quipped (via Facebook):
Can someone get psychological help for Speaker Boehner? He is such an embarrassment. He was crying and crying behind Pope Francis today. Really- get a grip.
Today, all of America now understands why the Speaker was so emotional at the joint session of Congress. Indeed, it was a remarkable day. It was the first time the Holy Father spoke to this audience. But as we learned the next day, he will resign his position in October. Boehner has served as Speaker since 2011. 

And yet, the 48-hour rule isn't why I wanted to write this blog.

I wanted to write about John Boehner because I would like to think I wouldn't react all that differently if I had heard Pope Francis speak in a place that I have worked for over 20 years. I hope anyone who has been raised Catholic with a faith nurtured by family, Catholic education and a career that has been in service to others, would shed tears—a lot of them too.
This image says it all
Furthermore, I wanted to write this blog because I also want to point out a belief I hold about beauty, truth and extraordinary people.

A student asked me that day if I thought the Pope's address to Congress would really make a difference. I looked at him, grateful for the question, and I said with total conviction, "Yes. Pope Francis is not an ordinary person; he is an extraordinary person. When you hear someone like that speak, you can't help but be different. Will they vote differently? Not overnight, no. But when you hear and meet someone extraordinary, their words stay with you."

And then I heard the Pontiff's speech. Many of our students did too. Not only is the messanger extraordinary but so too was his message. And to me, they revealed two great qualities that lead us to God: truth and beauty. When I see beauty, I can't help but cry. It's why I lose it when some golfers win championships. It's why certain music elicits water works. Beauty has a way of doing just that. Truth and beauty. I have a feeling John Boehner would agree.

Thank you Holy Father for gracing this country with your energy, enthusiasm, charisma, joy and true and deep love to the Lord. You are the best witness to truth, beauty and love I know. BTW: I'm crying as I write that...

Photo Credits
Papa Francesco

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where the Pope Should Go....Across the River, to the Jersey Side

In case you haven't seen it, Pope Francis' trip to the United States features an impressive itinerary. Yes, it is significant that he had a "closed door meeting" with the President and tomorrow he will give the first-ever papal address to a joint meeting of Congress, but what truly stands out for me (and I am sure for him) is that he will visit a Our Lady Queens of Angels Catholic school in East Harlem. Of course he will undertake the Corporal Work of Mercy—visiting the imprisoned at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. And he will eat with the hungry while visiting Catholic Charities: St. Maria's Meals in Washington, DC. According to CNN, "55 tables will be set up for the poor and homeless to be served lunch as the pope blesses the food and walks among them."
Although his meetings in our nation's capital and our financial and social capital (New York) are noteworthy, the heart of his visit is to the city of Brotherly Love where the Synod on the Family will occur. If however I were to create his agenda, I would add but one city for the Holy Father to visit: Camden, NJ.
Excited for this Holy Father's first visit the United States, last November Father Jim Martin wrote "10 Things Pope Francis Should Do in Philly." In response, I said:

I think Pope Francis should visit where many Philadelphians have not—across the Ben Franklin Bridge to Camden, NJ. Although the FBI has listed it as "America's most dangerous city" it is also a community that is more than a "City of Ruins." The religious art work of Bro. Mickey McGrath, the urban plunge experience via "Romero Center Ministries" and the efforts of "HopeWorks 'N Camden" reveal this beautiful truth.

I first traveled to Camden with a group of students from St. Ignatius College Prep for a "service trip." During our week in Camden, we stay at the Romero Center, located in what was the former convent at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral parish in the heart of the city. 

Their website captures who they are, what they do and why we continue to return across the country; their mission is an inspiration. It reads
Romero Center Ministries was founded on March 24, 1998, on the 18th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador with a vision for an urban retreat center that would ground people in Jesus’ call to serve the poor among us. 
Romero Center Ministries began with the intention of bringing the Church community to Camden to experience an enlightened conversion and commitment. We wanted young people to see that there is both opportunity and challenge in the work of the Church. We wanted adults to understand their role in bringing about a societal commitment to end poverty and discrimination in our world. 
From the very beginning we’ve told participants that the most important thing that will happen on these experiences is not what they will do for others, but what others will do for them.  In the words of Archbishop Romero: “We learn to see the face of Christ – the face of Christ that also is the face of a suffering human being, the face of the crucified, the face of the poor, the face of a saint, and the face of every person – and we love each one with the criteria with which we will be judged: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat’” (Oscar Romero, Reflections on His Life).
We have given students some "in-flight" reading so they have a sense of the history of the city and what went wrong. "The Undefeated Champions in Defeat City" reveals the how and why behind Camden's immense social struggles, its problems with drugs, crime, the police and more. It will reveal what most folks in Philadelphia know about Camden:

Murder Rate in Camden: 86 per 100,000
Murder Rate Nationally: 5 per 100,000

Supermarkets in Camden: 2
Open-Air Drug Markets: 175

People Living Below the Poverty Line in Camden: 39%
People Living Below the Poverty Line Nationally: 15%

Movie Theaters in Camden: 0
Abandoned Buildings: 3,000
I would, however, like to point out they have an awesome roller skating rink....
As seen at Pyne Point Park in North Camden; home of the Little League team.
These statistics are not unfamiliar to Pope Francis. He is all too aware of what the poor encounter and what the trials of the inner-city do to humanity. But there is always another side to this story and he knows that. 

The poor can be some of our great teachers; it is remarkable what someone with so little is able to give. This story about "Defeat City" shares with us what Little League baseball, a coach with a vision and heart and a willing group of kids and families can offer. It's worth reading.

I would love to know what the Holy Father would find if he were to do what Springsteen sings and "take that ride across the river to the Jersey side."

Sometimes it's not about what you find, but rather, what finds you....

Photo Credits
Philly: by Mickey McGrath

Monday, September 21, 2015

How to defeat the —ism

A recent post, "-isms die hard" captured but two recent encounters with sexism. Since that posting, a number of people have talked to me about their own thoughts and experiences with any given —ism. Often, they are hard to hear, but they are important to listen to and share. And that is the purpose of this posting; I want to thank a coach for pointing out that simple but powerful truth. I believe the only way we can defeat the —isms is to talk and to listen, to reconcile and resolve, name them, own them and let them go.

I am now coaching JV girls' golf. It's an adventure! At our second league meet of the year, another coach and I were shuttling our players between certain holes, checking in on their games, scores and more. I always enjoy talking to other coaches and learning from them. It's not hard to do this in JV girls' golf.

At this particular match, our teams were the first or four teams to tee of that afternoon. That means three other teams (a total of six schools) were slated to play—including one varsity team (read: a team that is better and therefore, plays faster!). In the middle of our match, the coach from the very last group caught up with me and asked me about pace of play. He was respectful and yet I could tell that he was frustrated with the situation at hand. I would be too. His team wasn't even close to the first tee.

About ten minutes later, I checked in with the coach my team was playing against. He relayed what I just heard: some coaches behind us were upset about pace of play and that the course scheduled so many matches on the same day. He added that one coach (who I talked to) was the most exasperated. 

"What did he say?" I asked.

He replied, "He just looked at me and said, What's going on here? Who are you? Are you a parent? Do you work here? I told him that I am the coach." 

I looked at him and I knew what might have gone unsaid. There was a pause in our conversation. I looked him in the eye and I said "Do you think he said that to you because you are Latino." He looked up and looked at me. He could tell I was listening. 

"Yes, I do. I wanted to tell him, you know, I've been the coach here for eight years! I do feel that way, a little bit." He shook his head and said "It's hard."

I said, "I'm sorry. I can't understand what that must be like for you, but I think it's important to talk about. I don't know that we will ever work through racism in this country unless we have the courage to talk about it. We carry with us assumptions and presumptions, they're not right. We have a lot to work through."

He responded by telling me "I have an 18 year old son and I tell him all the time to look people in the eye. Give them the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time, acknowledge how you feel."

It didn't take us long to get back to our coaching duties. In but a minute's time one of our athletes had a question and we kept them moving.

My team lost by all of three strokes that day. I was so disappointed. I know every loss is a learning opportunity, and there are things I would do differently and challenge my golfers to consider. But in spite of the loss, I gained so much from a simple conversation. 

Taken right after these two had killer drives off the 9th tee!
I say that because after our teams shook hands, went through the scores and the top five golfers of the day, I had a chance to thank the coach for hosting us. He said "thanks for coming and playing a good match. And hey, thank you for our conversation. I really appreciate it." 

It was one thing for me to ask the question that I did. Had I not had the experience two weeks prior of the sexism I met on the golf course, I don't know that I would. But equally if not more important, was this coach's willingness to share, open up and then thank me for what we discussed. That's a good day. 

And I think that's a start to bringing the —isms to their final resting place. They die hard....but someday, I if we want them to, they'll be gone.

Photo Credits
Krassner Quote

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Questions Loom Large for Notre Dame Football....

Many questions loom large for Notre Dame football. Am I'm not talking about who is our starting quarterback. In "Notre Dame President Stands Firm Amid Shifts in College Athletics," Paul Browne, a university vice-president wrote, "Notre Dame prides itself in a lifelong engagement with many if not most of the alumni." I agree. For me, my relationship with the university has been enriched and sustained since graduating in 1996 thanks to the work of my local alumni club and the efforts of the university to reach beyond South Bend. Furthermore, I have encountered fellow alums literally throughout the world (most notably and most often through service and in the Church). However, I think it's fair to ask the question, for most alumni: To what degree is that relationship contingent on football?  I'd like to think a recent visit to campus affirmed my answer.
Some context: In 2004, I flew to Chicago to support my good friend and ND classmate, Courtney qualify for the Boston Marathon. I planned to run miles 16-26 of the Chicago Marathon to keep her on pace. It was a great way to experience one of the largest races in the country in one of America's best cities. Her now husband, Dave and I plotted where we would see Courtney, based on her mile splits. We took the El train after we left her at the start with 26,000 other runners. Our first plan was to catch her at mile 3. However, before we did, I was greeted at the El stop by a Dunkin Donuts. I did what any sane person would do: I purchased a tall coffee and some donut deliciousness. 

I remember where I was standing and how I felt. I delighted in cheering for the brave runners. I loved the fact that I could enjoy the day without the pressure of the race. I went in for a huge bite of what was probably an apple fritter when a familiar face came running toward me. This runner extended his sweaty hand to give me a high five in lieu of a hug. It was my friend, Father John Jenkins. I wondered if I was in some sort of Seinfeld episode. Here I was 20 years his junior and standing on the sidelines, looking like a glutton. Father John had the glory of the marathon (early stages) on his face and kept a swift pace.  And I...I was eating a donut.

Anyone who knows Father John is aware that his personal and professional work ethic is outstanding. It extends to all facets of his life—his ministry, his writing, his personal communication, his commitment to his family (he is one of 12 children) his physical and mental health and his prayer life. And, his full time job. Father Jenkins is the president of the University of Notre Dame.

I had a chance to share this story with Father John when I ran into him outside the Morris Inn the Friday before the opening football game of the 2015 season. I asked him if he was still running marathons. He would never admit to all that his role demands, which limits his time, even for physical fitness. But a recent piece in the New York Times "Notre Dame President Stands Firm Amid Shifts in College Athletics" gives some insight. I invite you to read the article here.

Father Jenkins' leadership has not been without controversy. Not only did he invite President, Barrack Obama to speak at Commencement, the University honored him with an honorary degree. In his time the "Vagina Monologues" has been on campus and people have questioned the influx of big money that has built—if not overbuilt the University. But if you skim below the surface, you will discover that no one is more committed to the questions of What would you fight for? What does Our Lady ask of us today? and What does it mean to be a Catholic university? No, he has asked What does it mean to be the greatest Catholic University it can be? 

The tough questions he must answer about football and its future will not resolve easily, quickly or without controversy. That question makes mine an easy one.

In my conversation with Father John, I was reminded that 
he has always made me feel like much more than a friend. Friendship with Father John has helped me understand what it means to be a child of God. He affirms the goodness he sees in me (I know, it's rare...but he gets it). He knows where I teach—St. Ignatius, right? and what I teach—Are you teaching a class about Sports and Spirituality? as the years go by. Moreover, no one has been more supportive of the teaching program that served as the crown jewel of my Notre Dame experience, the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), than Father John. This is where I first got to know him, at nightly mass in the summer for my ACE formation. I am so grateful for that time together.

My friendship with Father John affirms to me what Notre Dame offers its alumni—above and beyond football. To be a graduate of Notre Dame is to enter into a lifelong friendship with people from throughout the country (and now the world). It means that you might travel 2000 miles to see a football game, but when you do, you will connect with over 50 friends in one weekend. It means you might even get to spend an entire weekend with a former roommate who became a dear friend. It means, that—thanks to a game watch— you find friends in the cities where you live  You might end of working or living with them, praying for them, grieving or celebrating with them, and some even marry them. Me, I have run with them. I've eaten my fair share of donuts near them and with them. I have taught them and traveled with them. They inspire me and continue to reveal to me what it means to be a child of God.

Photo Credits
All photos appear in the NYT article...except for the one from commencement. Taken at ACE graduation in 1998.

Friday, September 11, 2015

-isms Die Hard

Over Labor Day weekend, I was reminded that -isms die hard. Racism, ageism, sexism, take years and years to fade. In a 24-hour period I was the subject of two sexist remarks. Both experiences were isolated, yet related in their presumptions. The sexism was direct; it was overt. I didn't react to either incident right away, which explains why I wasn't sure why I was a little off when I woke up the next morning. I wondered why was I carrying something other than anxiety or "back to work" blues. I felt angst—an emotion is rare for me. And then I got it. I named it. Sexism is alive and kicking. No one said it wasn't. 
My former roommate Erin and I arrived at the Warren Golf course at the University of Notre Dame excited to play a round. With clubs in our cart, Erin and I were getting a few things in order when a man and his wife (who was not dressed for golf) looked at us and said "Women play golf?"

I didn't hear him. Erin vaguely smiled at him. She turned to me and asked "Did you hear what he said." I didn't. I wish I had. I would have responded by sharing some of the following information:

The USGA reports that in 2014, 22% of adult golfers are female. According to the National Golf Foundation, 48% of women say they want to learn golf with other beginners. And the number of new golfers, leans toward the "xx" spectrum. 

Furthermore, women have a rich history in this sport. In "Important Events in the History of Women's Golf," Nancy Berkely, President of Berkely Golf Consulting writes:
1552   Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), an avid golfer, coins the term “caddie” by calling her assistants “cadets.” The Queen traveled to France to play golf and historians report that she was criticized for playing golf and not spending enough time on Royal matters.   It is during her reign that the famous golf course at St. Andrews is built.
The Ladies Club of St. Andrew’s, Scotland, is formed — the first ladies’ golf club.
1891   The Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island opens its doors to women. Golf proved so popular that the club opened a 9-hole course for women two years later.

The entire list is worth checking out!

The LPGA was founded in 1950 and its prize money, media coverage and talent level is ever increasing. Perhaps he is the one who doesn't play golf...
It's probably worth noting that Erin graduated with a degree in engineering.
A field traditionally dominated by men.
One day later, my friend introduced me to his dad by telling him, "this is my friend Anne. She just got back from Notre Dame where she went to school. She was there for the Texas game." His dad responded, "You went to St. Mary's?" I said "no, I went to Notre Dame." He asked "women attend Notre Dame?"

Out of respect for an elder, I said "you probably know a time when Notre Dame was single sex, I don't. Notre Dame has been co-ed my entire life. It first admitted women in 1972. St. Mary's is still an all women's college, but thanks to Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame is my alma mater."

I don't take for granted the fact that Notre Dame allows women. That step toward inclusion was recognized and celebrated at Father Ted's funeral and memorial. As I've written before, I thank him for the assist.

Unfortunately, the -isms still abound. I'm sure the man who drove by in his golf cart was trying to be funny. I wish he had simply said "Good Morning." Perhaps my friend's dad really didn't know that ND is co-ed...even though that is now 43 years in the making.

I truly believe that sports can abate racism and sexism, but it can engender it as well. When I watch a Serena Williams match, the sexist remarks are loud and clear. She plays like a man. No woman's body looks like that. But the fact of the matter is Serena is exactly who she is and she continues to define excellence for women and women in athletics. Here's to the many others that do.... 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ten Things You Ought to Know About Serena Williams Part II

Part I of this article can be found here...I wanted to contribute to the conversation that is known as #BeSerena. She is my favorite female athlete, bar none.

6. The Williams sisters’ religious tradition
Serena is a Jehovah Witness and from time to time she publicly proclaims her thanks to Jehovah God—as she did at the 2015 Australian Open. “I have to thank Jehovah God for this,” Serena Williams told the crowd after receiving the trophy at the Australian Open in January, her sixth win there.

“I was down and out and he helped me today and I just said prayers, not to win but to be strong and to be healthy and in the end I was able to come through so I have to give the glory to him first and foremost.”
In the movie “Venus and Serena” Venus says “We never went to birthday parties or did things most kids did. We spent our time on the tennis court. I didn’t mind.” Jehovah Witnesses do not celebrate birthday parties. Who knew this religious observance could serve as an advantage to their athletic development. 
 7. Another mark of greatness 
In 2003, Serena’s half-sister, Yetunde Price, a registered nurse who owned a beauty salon, was a killed in a drive-by shooting in Compton. Yetunde, the eldest of Oracene Price's five daughters was also a personal assistant to Venus and Serena. This tragedy got some media attention, but it has been the first of many for both Williams sisters. A wise, avid sports fan once told me that most athletes do not bounce back from major tragedies in their life. The mental game is just too demanding and exhausting. Personal grief takes it toll and affects everything. The fact that Serena was able points to her greatness. 
8. Serena's impact on history extends far beyond sports history 
Marcus Thompson writes a great reflection on Williams' impact in "Serena Williams, an Ali for a new generation." He writes, No, Serena didn't protest a war, like Ali. But she has raged against the machine. Her fight is against glass ceilings and long-held standards of beauty. Every time she takes the court with shimmering nails, every photo shoot in which she is flexing, every event for which she gets dolled up into a glamorous princess, is an ace for acceptance and diversity. Maria Sharapova's dominance over Serena in endorsement dollars, despite Serena's dominance over Sharapova on the court, is proof racism, body shaming and sexism exist. The article is a good one; I agree.

9.  There is no Serena without Venus.
Some have pointed to the truth that was it not for her sister, Serena would already have the record for the most Grand Slam titles of all time (24 by Margaret Smith Court). The Williams sisters have played each other in Grand Slam finals 2 times. Venus won 1 of those matches, but the also played in quarterfinal rounds, etc. 

In the documentary "Venus and Serena," Serena talks about being Venus’ younger sister. She says, "I did everything she did. Her favorite color was my favorite color. Her favorite animal was my favorite animal. I was one big copycat."  Richard Williams ran both of his daughters through his plan. Fortunately, both girls loved the game…and their father. They always had not only a hitting partner but a partner in crime. A confidant. One who could truly understand the burdens and blessings of an unconventional childhood and life. 

They are partners in life: they live together in Miami, they are both partial owners of an NFL team—the Miami Dolphins and they play an incredible game of doubles’ tennis together. I almost enjoy watching them play doubles more as I get to see two women who love the game and one another in action. When you look at Serena, look in her box. You will see all that has made her who she is. And that is to be the next posting….

10. Create your own point of interest about Serena, and post it here. You won’t have to work hard to create one. Enjoy!

Photo Credits
Again, Part I of this article can be found here...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Ten Things You Ought to Know About Serena Williams: Part I

Unless you haven’t been paying attention, tennis legend Serena Williams is everywhere these days. She appears on the August 31st cover of Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Ebony, ESPN's body issue, a feature piece in the New York Times Sunday magazine and more. She’s been on Good Morning America, Sports Center, and ads for products like Gatorade and Tampax. She is the subject of intrigue, debate, and controversy. Is she on the juice? Is she dating Drake or not. Will she be named Sports Illustrated’s prestigious Sportsman of the Year? Serena is in the spotlight; she wouldn’t have it any other way

There is so much to consider and discuss about arguably the greatest female in all of sport today. Most stories will point to the fact she earned the “Serena Slam” when she captured her 21st Grand Slam title at the 2015 Wimbledon. She is now competing in New York at the US Open for what could be the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf won it in 1988.

With this posting, I would like to contribute to the conversation, often known as #BeSerena, by pointing out ten things—that if you dig a little deeper are what makes her utterly fascinating to me.

1.     She was never supposed to be this good.
Before they were born, Richard Williams devised a plan—one he committed to writing—outlining how his children would become the number one tennis players in the world. Much could be said about the plan, what it involved, etc, but one simple truth emerged from it. Although he worked with both Venus and Serena, Richard invested more of his time and energy into Venus’ game.

However, Serena’s mother, Oracene Price worked with Serena in a way Richard Williams did not. This combination allowed her to develop a game that suits her athletic ability and her mental game.

She has one of the strongest, fastest serves in tennis. She hits great drop shots to her opponents. She lets her passion be her aggression. Watch her game. She makes me want to be a better athlete.

   2.  No one is more inappropriately named in all of sport.
Venus is a striking image of the beauty her name suggests. She stands 6’1” and her features are fine and delicate. Her thin frame and long legs only characterize what is classically appreciated as a feminine mystique. Her own personality is much more serene; her voice is calm and her laugh is gentle. Serena, on the other hand, claims to have multiple personalities. The one who has berated the line judge is known as "Taqnanda."
As stated in the article, "The Meaning of Serena Williams," Claudia Rankine writes: 
She will tell an audience or an official that they are disrespectful or unjust, whether she says, simply, ‘‘No, no, no’’ or something much more forceful, as happened at the U.S. Open in 2009, when she told the lineswoman, ‘‘I swear to God I am [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat.’’ And in doing so, we actually see her. She shows us her joy, her humor and, yes, her rage. She gives us the whole range of what it is to be human, and there are those who can’t bear it, who can’t tolerate the humanity of an ordinary extraordinary person.
Indeed, an ordinary extraordinary person. She adds, 
There is no more exuberant winner than Serena Williams. She leaps into the air, she laughs, she grins, she pumps her fist, she points her index finger to the sky, signaling she’s No. 1. Her joy is palpable. It brings me to my feet, and I grin right back at her, as if I’ve won something, too. Perhaps I have.   
Serene? No. Exciting? #HellYeah.

3.  Just how good is she?
In “It’s Hers to Lose,” Jon Wertheim points out “The points gap separating Serena from No. 2 female tennis player in the world Simona Halep is greater than the points gap between Halep and the lowest ranked player on the tour.” #Wow

4.  Serena Continues to remake US Open history
For the first time ever, the women’s final at the US Open in Flushing Meadows NY sold out before the men’s final. Tennis fans are hoping to get a glimpse of sport and Serena history. Serena also made US Open history when she played her elder sister of 15 months, Venus in the 2001 finals. Consequently, their match was moved to Sunday night, for prime time television. It was considered "the most-anticipated tennis final in years." Venus won 6-2, 6-4.
5. Serena is tremendously disciplined 
Her ascesis should not be surprising, but it was to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. The evidence is captured in this blog posting: The Sports Journaling of Serena Williams: A Spiritual Discipline?

Part II, which features items 6-10 are here.

Photo Credits
Vogue cover
2001 US Open