Saturday, May 10, 2008

THE WILLIAMS EFFECTS

Over the past few days I watched the longest playing political sitcom nearing the end of its second season. Why do I say this? Well May and June is when all the other Television Shows end their seasons and the way the Democrats are playing out their scripts, the Season Finale should end pretty much around the same time LOST leaves the American people in the same state. Some time around September or October when the NEW SEASON re-airs, the Cliffhanger that is “WHO WILL BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE will be the new storyline that the American people will follow, with new characters (since Romney, Guliani, Bill Clinton, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Anne Colter and if we are lucky Rush Limbaugh will be written out like poorly written Soap Opera sub-plots) and NEW players will surface to bring about new Dramas and Laughs to boost the ratings. So until then we will watch a Summer of Sports and that sport of choice for me will be TENNIS.

As a youth, my parents encouraged me to participate in sports. I played some of every MASCULINE DRIVEN sports; Football, Basketball, Baseball, Wrestling, Volleyball, Swimming, Track and Field and for a short time Tennis. Tennis didn’t stick but for that short period of time, I learned one thing, I didn’t like playing the sport but loved watching it. Years later I chose the sport I liked most and excelled at it well into and after my college years. As the years continued, I learned by working in youth sports, to enjoy watching kids try and find themselves through their experiences in sports. In the 1990’s I had a few youth players enter into an Annual Summer Youth competition where our elite Tennis players were up against a group of players from California. I was to soon learn that our BEST PLAYERS got WALKED ALL UP THEIR BACKS AND NECKS WITH COMPTON HEELS by two little girls with the last name’s of WILLIAMS. That was the first time I witnessed the talents of Serena and Venus Williams.

The best part about my time working with youth and sports is that many on the Premium Players then that survived their Inner City circumstances, are now some of the most visible leaders in their field and seeing the Williams Sisters grow into World Recognizable Status makes a person proud.

So when Venus came of age, the Tennis World couldn’t wait. Being unorthodox in her training and experience she started out shaky and so did her Critics. There wasn’t a kind word at all about her abilities. The comments that came with Venus Williams’ arrival to the Sport of tennis were Racist (especially since the Tennis Association WAS and elitist Sport to begin with). I followed the media; I collected and taped everything Venus Williams. I even had a storage boxes and file cabinets of articles, newspapers and magazines of everything written which in the late 90’s was pretty much all anti-WILLIAMS which detailed her inability to WIN the big ones. Then Serena came along and that only heightened the negative press. For a time I followed USA Today’s forum on Women’s Tennis and in my experience, the International Community had nothing but NEGATIVE comments as well. I mean they were NASTY. For every one posting, there were 25 NASTY comments with only HIGH PRAISE for people like Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati and Anna Kournikova. To the World and America, those Women were the darlings and future of TENNIS. To their surprise and America’s, THE WILLIAMS in a short period of time crushed and forced that same NEGATIVE World to Recognize that they were in Tennis to win it, and Venus and Serena Williams WON IT ALL for several years straight.

So once the two sisters got into their stride, there was A CHANGE in the whole game of tennis. People began to notice the SPORT. Sponsors wanted to be apart of the game, fashion, soft drink companies, cosmetics, McDonalds and Hollywood. Then there were the MILLIONS of dollars that came rushing in like the rains of NOAH. The Tennis Association embraced these "two little ashy kneed, Ghetto playing, Compton plastic bead wearing, Amazon darlings of the TENNIS WORLD". The Naysayers had to eat crow and apologized or grudgingly learned to accept the fact that DIFFERENT wasn’t DEFICIENT and these girls were SERIOUS and could PLAY. There style of play so GREAT that it lifted the level of PLAY across the board on both the Women’s and the Men’s side of the game. This all may be HISTORY to some but it isn’t where I want to go with this story, what I want to do is concentrate on the RELATIONSHIP of the Sisters themselves.

By 1999 America now had two viable Champions that they could stand behind to represent the very best that a country had to offer, “even if they were BLACK”. Their consistency took the country into a ZONE that it could not wake up from. No matter what you though about the Sisters, the FATHER or the family background, Tennis, America, Whites and Blacks knew they had champions, even when they HAD to play each other. And there developed a slight problem. The Sisters were so GOOD that the only people capable of beating them were themselves. As such, AMERICA and the TENNIS WORLD had to decide whom they liked BEST.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR??

Last Tuesday I wanted to make this my Blog topic of the day but my act of Civil Disobedience delayed it. The Political Battles of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama continued with a 1 to 1 win, Hillary winning Indiana and Obama taking North Carolina. Surprise or no surprise, each won the states they were suppose to win. As they say, a win is a win. Much like tennis, if you take the way the Williams Sisters play, you know from the beginning, they were going to MOP the floor with the chicks on the field and then up the playing once they got to the higher tier players. We knew that once the higher tier players were put away, in the finals you had Venus on one side and Serena on the other. Once that happened AMERICA HAD TO DECIDE. It wasn’t as simple as, “Oh I am just happy that they both made it to the finals because they will both be winners.” NO DAMN IT! Someone has to win and someone had to loose.

The Williams came from the same PARTY, my bad, the same FAMILY. Both are strong players, same talents, same background, the same opportunities but once one looks deeper, there is that one thing that makes a person PULL for one sister over the other. For me, Venus is my choice. She was the first to emerge, the oldest, the more controlled, her goals were loftier, her talents mostly from hard work and dedication and not natural ability unlike Serena, who is a NATURAL TENNIS PLAYER and even by her family’s acknowledgement, is the BETTER PLAYER. You see, I am an Underdog lover and Venus Williams is the Underdog when comparing the two.

Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, right now are a product of THE WILLIAMS EFFECT. The two are so evenly matched and loved that now the two are meeting at Center Court for the Finals of the GRAND SLAM and America is forced to take a side. Even though in the end, the PEOPLE will be satisfied with the Winner, both will benefit in the end. You might ask how? Lets take a look at political benefits of these two if either accepts the Second Place trophy.

Hillary Clinton is the consummate politician. There is no one on the Political landscape, media, or grassroots can say that Hillary Clinton don't know Politics and the tools to become a good one. You don’t become a leading Presidential candidate on a whim nor do you become a person that is a catalyst in a Political movement that can and has ignited a Nation and a World to pay attention to every word and step you take unless you have the ability to command that attention and or respect. In a short time being active in politics and the history being politically behind and in the forefront as an established influence, as Senator of the United States she stands at the front of the Class as the WOMAN that holds more that 46% of the Democratic Party behind her as most favorite Politician. A Democratic Politician that has left a footprint in all 50 States; good or bad. A Democratic Politician that has played torchbearer in every other Senator’s and House Representative’s backyard. She has carved out a successful Physical presence as well as Political influence that can carry for several years and across several generations. So what if Senator Hillary Clinton looses the nomination for President, She goes back to Congress as the MOST INFLUENTIAL POLITICIAN on the Hill because she has done something that Ted Kennedy, John McCain, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and a minor few has not been able to do, and that is to ignite the interest of Millions to Vote. Millions more than her counterparts were unable to do. Regardless of her “married name”, Hillary Clinton still had to do the work, and WORK she is and had done. Like a Williams Sister, they earned every POINT and not one was given freely.

In playing on the courts (still using the tennis references), Hillary Clinton knows the angles to play. She sees the lines, the weakness, the good calls and the potential bad calls, but like the WILLIAMS SISTERS, when in the beginning of their playing careers, the crowds were against them. Hillary’s level of Political play to NOT give in or give up, to come back from behind and to TALK THE TALK of the Working Poor and Blue Collar and the Small Towns will and have given her the Aces to play when reaching across the aisles and proposing Bills that benefit those 46% that backed her during her run for President. For some, that might sound like a REACHING PROBABILITY but it isn’t a stretch, especially since the new politics of today has re-written the book on what is Normal Politics.

Like THE WILLIAMS EFFECT, when each Sister Opens Up A Can of WHOMP-ASS on the field and end up playing each other in the finals of the Grand Slam, they sometimes clean-up playing in DOUBLES. When that happens, the Sisters take home the Jackpots of First and Second Prize and then the First Prize in the doubles. Separately the SISTERS improve their status and rankings as number 1 and number 2, their money and influence also rises, and depending on when they peak, the two can and DID capture GOLD METALS during Olympic Years. If Hillary is Venus Williams than Barak Obama is Serena with a No Holds Barred attitude and soon he will garner a SERENA SLAM and capture the love of those on the other side of the Sister Love. Do they collect the Singles or do they consider the Doubles as well? Either way, it is a WIN WIN situation because it’s THE WILLIAMS EFFECT.

Together the Sisters are in love with each other. Of course they have their moments (as all sisters do, and I know because I have four of them) but when it come down to WORK, they snap to it really quick. Hillary Clinton is playing her game until she looses and right now, she has not loss. Calling it, she is in the Third set, and in tiebreakers where SHE and Obama are going back and forth, point for point. Someone has to loose and someone has to win, and in the end, one of the Sisters will reach across the net, shake hands, hug, laugh and giggle and then divide the spoils between the two because in the end, the Prize stays within the family. What happens after the GRAND SLAM depends on the Sisters and there are more Slams, more Players to PUT IN THEIR PLACE, more Games and more challengers to watch out for. You see, sometimes going for the BIG PRIZE, you become limited in what you can really do unless you have backing. Considering the Second Prize can be either going back to the Senate with PREZ CRED or Vice President with Back Up Cred. And this is why I look at Obama because how he WINS will determine how he might loose.

In the Past, the media has always looked for a way to get in between the Williams Sister’s relationship. Even at their dominance in the sport, the players, the Tennis Association, the media has tried to create drama, animosity and psychological difference between the two but that BLOOD mixed with their SPIRIT was the shield that rejected all attempts. If anything, it brought them closer. Not a word or a motion, a gesture or a look gave any evidence that their LOVE for family was in doubt. THE WILLIAMS EFFECT not only demonstrate the proper way to handle the stress of being a leader, but it taught lesson of Grace and Dignity. Obama and Hillary in the end has shown this contrary to the MEDIA’S reporting otherwise.

For Obama loosing the nomination (which at this writing doesn’t seem to be the case), he sits upon the same perch that Hillary would sits upon if roles were reversed. His popularity far outweighs any of the most Senior of Statesmen on Capitol Hill. He also has a fair number of Delegates and Super Delegate behind him with over 53% of American Democrats tugging on his sweaty towel. That type of influence can garner a lot of favors and support. Think about this for a minute, Obama has an open invitation into a Youth Momovement that can guarantee a political base for the next 15 to 20 years. Like the Bill Clinton Generation of the early 1990’s, you can ride this wave just like that crowds at the US Open and Wimbledon throughout the stadium. All it takes is one person to move the crowd and everyone else follows smiling and laughing because they too were in the mix, moving the energy in the direction of the masses.

So, as a Senator, whenever Obama goes before the Congress, no matter what side of the aisle you are on, you have to acknowledge that he has the ability to swing supporters from any and all 50 States because like Hillary Clinton, he has played in all courts and surfaces as well due to his success. Both have changed the nature of the Game; the Political Game. Like THE WILLIAMS EFFECT, all the other players are either breaking or broke down due to the stress of playing a Williams Style Game (Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce) or they had to step up their Game (Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Maria Sharapova). To relate it to the Political field just substitute any of the prior names with people like Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Joseph Biden, Chris Dodd, or a John Edwards. Not one of them could, did or will command the type of popularity that a Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama currently command or ever will. Much like THE WILLIAMS EFFECT, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama have changed the toporgraphy of American Politics; the old tricks and assumptions no longer work. The CHANGE is so evident that even the REPUBLICANS has been effected in its methodology, message, and appeal within its own Party. The Clinton Campaign's initial messages and images that normally worked during National Elections had to be revisited and re-tooled for a newer strategies which had to appeal to "real people". It was because of this quick-to-change that Hillary Clinton was able to achieve a "stay in it to win it" posture. No different than the sport of tennis when a Champion starts out down to then battle back for the win (typical of a Williams sister). It was in her (Clinton) ability to do it quickly and decisively that separated from the rest of the field.

So here we are, at the Finals and the Serena vs. Venus/Hillary vs. Obama Grand Slam which is set for Prime Time, the first time ever. There are millions of viewers watching just to see what the excitement is all about. These two TITANS will be grunting and serving at speeds and power that will defy any one familiar or unfamiliar with the SPORT. If I recall correctly, the first time was a bit ANTI-CLIMATIC. Serena Won In Two Sets and for the Venus fans, we were disappointed. We wanted more and got less but even though she didn’t win over her Kid Sister something happened, WE GOT OVER IT because they were still CHAMPIONS and no one was even close to their CLASS OF SPORTSMANSHIP. America or at least the National Tennis Associations has to or had acknowledge that the Williams Sisters has changed the nature of the sport for a New Generation. Their presence had excited tennis and non-tennis players alike, more tennis clinics and instructors are finding work and purpose, tennis attendance has increased exponentially (US Open tickets jumped from an average of $30 to over $150 in a single year with the SISTERS in play, more Black and Brown folk took to the sport and over all the HATERS (John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert; the Tennis Pundits of the Sport) have all fallen in-line to go with the momentum of the PEOPLE and watch some good A$$ TENNIS .Same here. We are living in a world where we are experiencing some GOOD ASS POLITICS.

2 comments:

jjbrock said...

I am glad you are back and another great article. I like the way you compared the two.

I will say in the end we still loved both sisters but I don't think it will be the case after this election.

One of our fine politician have burned some bridges that can not be rebuild.

Shazza Nakim said...

Well I can only say that in the end, she will still be the second best candidate on the ticket with a significant number of the votes. And like the Williams sister, as evenly matched as they are, one is always slightly better than the other.