Keep your American Pharoah tears, Serena Williams deserves all the praise
As a sports fanatic, I’ve witnessed a lot of incredible feats of athleticism this year.
Of all the amazing acts I’ve been blessed to witness this year – no one was more incredible than Serena Williams. And nothing was more awesome than watching her absolutely dominate her competition throughout 2015.
Serena Williams was the best athlete in 2015.
Not the best female tennis player or the best woman in sports. She was the best athlete in the world.
She entered 2015 as the best athlete in the world, and all she did was dominate all challengers, break long-standing world records, and ended the year No. 1. I could rattle off a list of her achievements and statistics, but that’s highly unnecessary, because the people who are going in on Williams and attempting to discredit her claim to this award aren’t really trying to make pro-whoever-else arguments – they’re in it for the anti-Serena angle.
Enter: American Pharaoh. Yes – a horse.
I’ll be the first to admit that although horse-racing does not resonate with me whatsoever, I do understand the monumental achievement of winning the triple crown. It’s a remarkable accomplishment.
But if you believe that it gives a horse the edge over Serena Williams as Sports Illustrated’s ‘Sportsperson of the Year,’ you’re just proving exactly why she deserved it more.
The most amazing thing about Serena Williams’ accomplishments, past and present, is the fact that she continues to dominate her current competition while battling public perception.
Bill Russell once said, “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.”
What makes Serena as amazing as she was in 2015 isn’t just hard serves and aggressive backhands.
It’s about her ability to thrive under great pressure and scrutiny. Folks are comparing her to a damn horse, because there’s a large contingent of people who simply don’t want to recognize her as being as dominant as she is.
And you still have people like Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Morrissey writing absurd ‘hot takes’ like this.
That’s why when she wins, the conversation turns into an investigation on whether or not her celebration was classy or devolves into a BS commentary about her looks.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 11, 2015
Hell, throughout the year, people were so sick of her absolute dominance that they created a “rival” for her named Maria Sharapova, but not because they gave a damn about Sharapova – but rather because they just weren’t comfortable acknowledging that Williams was as damn good as she was.
Williams has beaten Sharapova in 18 of their 20 matches, and she absolutely shredded her at Wimbledon this year. The last time Sharapova beat Serena Williams was in 2004 – when the Chappelle show was in Season Two. And just like it was a stupid, Mr. Fantastic-esqe reach to claim that Sharapova was Serena’s “rival,” it’s stupid to claim that American Pharaoh is the sportsperson of the year.
Full-time sports troll writers like USA TODAY Sports’ Chris Chase went out of his way to call Serena a “sore loser” – whatever that means.
It’s just one of many nonsensical critiques that have plagued Serena her entire career. But yet she rises above it all. And the fact that she manages to thrive in spite of the attacks on her body, her gender and her race is a testament to why she should be heralded as the sportsperson of the year.
Not some goddamn horse.