Sisterhood

Dear President Trump,

Must be the life – no events scheduled today except for a nice long stretch at one of your golf courses. Did you purposely time it so that you couldn’t watch the women’s US Open final? Your official schedule had you leaving the WH at 11:05 (last minute potty break?) to travel to Potomac Falls. Google maps says it’s about a 40 minute drive, so what with lunch and what-not, you were probably heading out to the fairway just as Adrienne Warren was singing America the Beautiful, which means you missed her awesome word-switch at the end when she changed “brotherhood” to “sisterhood.”

I was so glad she did that. I’d been holding my breath through the first stanza hoping she would make the switch then, and when she didn’t I felt myself tune-out and get impatient, just wanting the song to be over. But then she came through. And the crowd went nuts. Now if only whoever is tagged it to sing it tomorrow (assuming it’s featured again) for the men’s final does it too (or reverses it, even, and puts sisterhood first and brotherhood second – would that ever be cool!), that would really be something. And yes, I do feel frustrated that we aren’t well past this point and that it’s a big deal that Warren did that ahead of the women’s final and that it would be a huge deal if whoever sings it tomorrow ahead of the men’s final does it too. But this is where we are in history, so I’ll take it.

The match was hard to watch because I so wanted Serena to win and I so didn’t want Bianca to lose. Laura’s been watching both of them throughout the tournament and I’ve been tagging along, catching some of the matches with her. They are both such incredible players and the graciousness with which they talk about one another is lovely and really, quite inspiring. I also love how they both talk about themselves – they both know they are incredible and they are both proud of themselves, proud of their hard work, proud of their accomplishments. It is so cool to see women owning their greatness, not demurring and passing it off to luck or someone else’s efforts. And both of them are able to embrace their own wonderfulness without coming across as arrogant or obnoxious. Maybe they’ve been coached on this since women tend to be hammered for being ‘too’ prideful, but however it is they are pulling it off, both of them are setting the bar high and showing how it ought to be done.

If you catch the highlights you’ll see them both making brilliant shots, strong shots, and some amazing – ‘how did she do that? – shots. The highlights probably won’t show Serena struggling with her serve since misses like those are not entertaining at all, but they were much of the story for her while Bianca was just tenacious and smart and powerful throughout. She really rocked it. Unless you are willfully ignoring the match, you know by now that Bianca won in two sets and has been awarded the terrific moniker of “She the North.” She’s racked up tons of firsts with this win and it’s going to be pretty fun to watch her in the future. At her meeting with the press folks (all three women, thank you!), Chrissie Everett asked Bianca if she thought she was hungry for more grand slam wins, if she had it in her to be greedy. Bianca hesitated and then basically said “yep” that’s her plan. One of the other interviewers caught the hesitation and encouraged her to go for it, not to worry one bit about being greedy. It was a terrific exchange.

Before I let you get back to whatever antisocial thing you were up to, I want to circle back to how the crowd was so into supporting Serena throughout the match. I know it’s nothing new since Serena has been around for decades playing stellar tennis in her inimitable way, but seeing so many thousands of women and men cheering their hearts out for an African American woman I felt some real flashes of hope that we are going to be ok. Somehow. I thought about (and think about) all the little girls who get to see someone who looks like them being cheered and revered for who she is, what she does, and how she does it and how this is something that is making America beautiful and letting us shine.

May we be safe to be proud of ourselves.
May we be happy for one another when we are great.
May we know that to be soul-healthy, we need to see people like us doing cool things.
May those who need to, make peace with everyone having fair shots at life.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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