Your Family Matters with PASTOR CHANDA
FRIDAY, July 28, 2017: It was only last week that Venus Williams was about to scoop the Wimbledon Tennis Championship for the sixth time
but was stopped in the finals by Garbiñe Muguruza.
The world watched on tiptoe as world history was about to be made.
Venus and Serena Williams have dominated the world of tennis for almost 20 years.
Between them they have taken home almost all the silverware that tennis could boast of in that period.
The fact that it is two sisters doing so simultaneously is unprecedented.
There have been times when a tennis final has had the two of them on the opposite sides of the net.
With all other contestants defeated they have had to face each other before the watching world to determine who between them should carry the trophy or shield home.
How did these two sisters get to this point of world domination?
The answer is found in the positive influence of their father— Richard Williams.
Born in 1942 in the United States of America, Richard was the only son to his parents. He had five sisters.
Richard was no saint. He went through a divorce by 1973, having fathered three sons and three daughters with a lady called Betty.
He remarried in 1980. The lady he married now was Oracene and with her, he had Venus and Serena—the two world tennis champions.
Richard Williams decided to coach his daughters in tennis. Why did he do that?
To begin with, he himself was interested in the game and tried his hand in it.
He did not go very far. Then his final inspiration came when he watched a lady playing tennis on television.
By the time Venus and Serena were five years old Richard was already taking them to tennis courts for training.
Other trainers were coaching them while he provided the guidance and inspiration.
By 1995, Richard decided he was going to train his daughters himself.
Within 4 years, the two girls were ready to take on the world.
Serena won her first US Open in 1999 and Venus scooped her first Wimbledon championship in the year 2000.
From that point onwards they became unstoppable, picking up silverware all over the world.
I repeat, Richard Williams was no saint. In 2002 he divorced the mother of his two girls Venus and Serena.
In 2010 he married Lakeisha, a lady who was only a year older than Venus.
That was not the best example to his daughters who remain single to this very day.
News has it that last month (June), Richard Williams sued his third wife to court for divorce.
It is beyond this diary to get into the murky details of this lawsuit. Suffice it to say that the two are already living apart.
It looks like it is yet another failed marriage.
Whereas Richard clearly failed in one area of his life—the marital area— his passion for tennis has given the world the best female tennis players since this sport began.
It is doubtful that the world will see two sisters dominate any sport like this any time soon.
In Richard Williams we have the best living example of the transfer of a father’s passion for a sport to his children.
If last time I had asked the question, “Where have all the parents gone?” then this week we have the example of a parent who stuck around and won!
Fathers can learn a lesson or two from Richard Williams and the way he passed on his passion for tennis to his daughters.
One lesson is: Start them early. Charity begins at home, and so does any other discipline you want your child to imbibe.
Richard started them early.
Here is another one: Be personally engaged if you can. Richard attempted to have others train his children but by 1995 he took over himself and passionately turned his girls into champions.
Who is better cut out to impart your values to your children than you?
Finally, remain by the side of your children through thick and thin. Only a parent will do that because he is not there for the payment.
It is a blood relation. Long after the days of coaching were over, Richard was often among the spectators cheering his girls to go for gold.
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