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Monica Seles Makes Me Smile.

I never thought much about Monica Seles until she got stabbed. In the early-90s, my absolute favorite tennis players were Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (nicknamed “The Barcelona Bumblebee”) and Martina Navratilova (no nickname needed). They owned my loyalty. Quickly after turning pro, Monica turned Arantxa, Martina and the rest of the competition into underdogs. I like underdogs. Much more than Number #1s.

Are you still with me? Are you thinking, ‘What do Monica Seles and/or tennis have to do with a writer’s blog?’ ‘GETTING A GRIP: On My Body, My Mind, My Self,’ that’s what. Although Monica Seles was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame last month, it’s Monica Seles, the person, that makes me smile. As a player, she had the strongest mind/strongest will on the court; now that she’s retired, she’s conquered even more…the tremendous odds of overcoming a very public tragedy.

You don’t have to be a tennis fan to read GETTING A GRIP. You don’t even need to know who Monica Seles is. If you can take yourself out of your own body for a moment, and picture what it would be like, as one of the most famous athletes around, to be stabbed in front of the world; If you can imagine what it would be like to lose your father to cancer at an early age; If you’ve ever developed a sudden weight problem and wondered how it happened; If you’re a Type-A American (even if you’re NOT American) and have missed the bigger picture life has to offer, you should be able to relate to Monica’s words well.

I have a weight problem. I’m Type-A. I eat when I can’t control everything. I rarely stop to smell the flowers. I guess I should have figured, upon my move to London two weeks ago, that my by-the-book calculations and plans would break down. Within my first days here, my computer crashed, I had no Internet access and I caught a very, very nasty flu (I’d call it swine, but I’m really trying to cut back on my pork intake). All I could do was stay home and read GETTING A GRIP. I’d say it was meant to be, but (most) people hate hearing that.

I can relate to Monica on so many levels; making justice from injustice, striving for balance, seeking answers on the inside, discovering peace, finally being able to love yourself. How about you? Can you relate to any of these?

Monica Seles is a winner. She always has been. I wish I’d realized this before she was stabbed. Although she’ll never be an underdog, she’ll forever be my all-time favorite. Maybe I do like Number #1s after all.
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