We need to talk about is the competitive fire that has Serena Williams looking at a 45-year old Tom Brady and feeling like her career is in any way less than complete.
As a spectator and consumer of women’s sports, and a fan of excellence, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was missing out on something every time an elite female athlete has to take a year off to grow and birth another human being.
It makes complete sense to me that Serena Williams would struggle to reconcile two of the best things in her life. The idea that because she’s a woman, parenthood takes away from the potential of athletic greatness is something I’ve never had to even consider.
That’s what brings me to my point. Maybe we, and by we I’m including Serena Williams, shouldn’t be looking at the physical labor of expanding a family as an unfair gender dynamic that leaves male athletes in a more admirable position to achieve longevity and maximize their potential.
Maybe we should look at it as proof that female athletes like Serena Williams, Candace Parker, Allison Felix and everyone else that has managed to not only return to form after pregnancy, but actually improve, are actually the pinnacle of athletic accomplishment.
Maybe the next time Tom Brady retires, we should be hearing him make aspirational references to the accomplishments of Serena Williams instead of the other way around.
Or maybe we don’t need to compare the greats at all. Maybe we can just chalk this up to the same competitive fire from Serena that would have her throw a second place trophy in the trash rather than put it on display in her home.
Serena isn’t second to anyone. She’s one of one. And as her career winds down, I hope she can make peace with the idea that if anyone can say they had it all, it was her.
Let that sink in.