I have always told Peace not to crush on celebrities again. I always spend a large number of my brain cells trying to figure out how people could crush on someone that doesn’t even know they exist. Well, my friend Peace never listens as she keeps crushing on celebrities especially Korean celebrities (Lee mao, sounds Korean right?).
Anyway, at the beginning of this year, I decided to write out my goals for 2020 and part of them was to pick up a sport. After doing a lot of research and comparative analysis, I decided I would pick up tennis. So, I got a coach and I got started. Picking up a new sport was not easy at all but I overcame the inertia and training got more consistent.
For the next few weeks, I was getting better and better and I was already imagining my picture on sport tabloids all around the world being touted as the “Next Big Thing in Tennis”. Then exams came and I stopped with the hope of restarting training after examinations were over. Exams ended and Covid-19 started, that was how my tennis journey came to a halt. But
it gave me my first celebrity crush – please don’t inform Peace!
I got star struck by 16-year old American tennis sensation- Coco Gauff. Although I feel shy, I will not hesitate to tell you about her. Coco Gauff is a professional tennis player. She was born on March 13, 2004 in Delray Beach, Florida to athletic parents- Candi and Corey Gauff. She has two siblings. Having tried out a wide variety of sports at a young age, she picked up tennis at age six because she loved it and preferred individual games to team sports.
Since then, she has not looked back, winning national titles in her category at age 8 and also being world number one Junior. Her progress has been breath-taking breaking into
Wimbledon beating world number 44- Venus Williams. She also has one Women’s Tennis
Association (WTA) title to her name and she is the youngest to break into top 50 in the world’s women tennis ranking.
With all these brilliant performances came the spotlight, fame and, of course, money. With these also came pressure and unsurprisingly, she has managed the pressure quite well. Pressure could be such a beautiful thing that can motivate one to do better and it could also destroy good performance. Coco, with help from her parents, has made pressure work for her and not against her.
Her rise follows a similar trajectory as tennis superpowers- Venus and Serena
Williams as she is also coached by her father and started tennis early too. Little wonder
those two are her idols. Her story is a really inspiring one and it’s only one in a million
stories of young ladies and youths doing great in their endeavours across the world.
However, the gap in the cultivation of sporting talents in Africa and the rest of the world
is still wide but it can be filled. This can be achieved by putting in place the right infrastructure and leadership to help young people in sport, especially females, get better
and do well on the global stage.
Coco Gauff, like many others, was quick to lend her voice and platform to the movements against racism and injustice. This is a strong example of how rapidly sports in general is strengthening its credentials as a tool for social change. We should embrace this tool too and invest rightly in it.
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire…” -John Carlin
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