The Importance of Believing in Yourself and Others
October 01, 2009
I witnessed the best at the US Open: The tennis was great, the new stars were exciting and the meetings held during the championships were very inspiring.
Melanie Oudin, a 17-year-old sensation from Marietta, Georgia, won the hearts of everyone. She captured the imagination of everyone because she defeated four of the best Russian pros in her incredible run for the title. She was not tall—average at five feet six inches. She did, however, have the foot speed and focus of a player beyond her years and was constantly upbeat in her matches.
Melanie wore pink and yellow Adidas tennis shoes that had "Believe" laser embroidered on them. To excel at anything you need to believe in yourself so you can reach your personal best.
I think that if every parent and teacher focused on having their children gain confidence by praise or by using discipline in a positive way, more children would believe in their abilities and be able to accomplish tasks that they think are beyond their limits.
The late Todd Witsken has a memorial bench dedicated to him that has the inscription: "Believe in God; Believe in Yourself." The latter is the motto that Todd felt was part of his success. The spiritual connection can also be extremely important to all ages in facing life's tough times. If you can believe that you have agape support in all you do, you really don't feel alone and unprotected when things don't go as you have scripted them.
Believing in yourself, trusting others, respecting the relations that you have with others, truly believing that "today is the beginning of the rest of your life" gives you courage to be a better person in everything you do.
As I witness our daughter-in-law fight cancer with 100% resolve, I am comforted by her nucleus of friends and support groups that have rallied behind her. She has the love and respect of the medical professionals where she works and her Caring Bridge website is where her friends empathize with her in daily exchanges. Last time I looked, she had almost 8,000 visits to her blog. Every day Kathy writes her testimony to the spiritual and medical journey she is experiencing. She has chemo buddies and friends who volunteer to make home-cooked meals. She believes that all of these factors are helping her in her battle with breast cancer. She is open about her challenges and truly believes that everyone is doing the best they can for her. Believing is everything.
One highlight of my trip to the US Open was helping escort and recognize the national winners of the NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. A yearly brunch is sponsored by former Mayor David Dinkins for NJTL winners and also winners of some prestigious Intercollegiate Tennis Association Arthur Ashe awards. All of these awards are in the name of the late Arthur Ashe who did so much to promote education and bring diversity to tennis.
The most outstanding Division I student athlete was Blake Strode, from St Louis, Missouri. He also won the Arthur Ashe Essay Contest as a 12-year-old in 1999. Blake graduated this May from the University of Arkansas where he maintained a 3.98 grade point average, played number one on the tennis team and made the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. He accomplished all of this while also being very active in host of other student activities.
When Blake Strode addressed those honored at the luncheon, he spoke of the confidence he had gained and the belief that he had that Arthur Ashe's mantra would always be an influence in his decisions and his service to mankind. Blake Strode has been accepted to Harvard Law School. Perhaps his National Junior Tennis League experience helped him to believe there were opportunities for him. You just must believe that hard work; sportsmanship and dedication all have personal rewards.
I hope to see some of you at the 40th Anniversary Brunch for the National Junior Tennis League on November 15th. I helped found the organization in 1968 and it was on court in 1969. NJTL staff and volunteers serve today over 25 parks and schools. Please e-mail me if you want more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.