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The Lost Champion


As one who played tennis for many years and watched championships for decades, I must say I have never seen one like yesterday’s Women’s final at the US Tennis Open.

 In any sport there are rules and regulations. There are contentious moments and days of grandeur but in the end the cliché that “it’s not about winning, but how you play the game,” still holds true.

In the past, players would rant and rave, scream at umpires and throw rackets. Some more than others depending on their temperaments. They displayed themselves in questionable performances or meltdowns of anger and hurt. Often they were cited for violations and sometimes fined as they should be. These outbursts of emotions from top seeded tennis pros would draw crowds filling stadiums to witness such shows of passionate athleticism but it doesn’t excuse their behavior.

Sadly, it has become the victimization of players who get offended by umpire calls and cited for their blistering tirades on the court that screams at the validity of the game. Calling into question are also the umpires who have personal issues with certain players along with whether or not they nitpick rules in different matches. The job is one that comes with recognition but should be scrutinized carefully. Umpires should be fair to all.

Bias of sportscasters of one athlete over all the other players has become as bad as the media in politics.  It only adds to the fury of hate and the loss of the Champion in waiting; and that was definitely the case these last 2 weeks.

 Of course there are discriminating facts between the sexes. It isn’t right, but shouldn’t be given into the debate of one player over another simply because of their accomplishments, fame and fortune. No one is above the rules especially as technology today can reveal exact spots the tennis ball lands and film crews can video tape unauthorized activities of those involved with the players during a match.

Everyone is responsible for how they act on and off the court. In this day and time the authors of entitlement have declared war on others because they believe they deserve to be treated differently and receive that which doesn’t belong to them, no matter what. That goes for players, coaches and umpires alike.

Forget competition as an incentive; the master of greed and offense has taken over.

What started out as an exciting, and anticipated great Championship match ended up being all about victimization that literally stole the greatest moment in a 20 year old girl’s life.

As she stood on the sidelines waiting and watching, her years of hard work and labor were swept under the rug of a diminished culture set on an “it’s all about me” syndrome. Tears streaming down her face should have been tears of joy for becoming the first Japanese woman to ever win a Grand Slam tournament. Instead they were tears overshadowed by shameful disputes that should have been determined peacefully and quickly to the point of being settled off the court in private even if the match needed to be paused.


As an American citizen and one who loves the game of tennis Naomi, I apologize that you were exposed to such reprehensible inefficiency.  The USTA needs some strong lessons in court management so that this kind of disorganization never happens again.

I commend and congratulate you, Naomi Osaka for your mature, quiet and graceful conduct in the midst of a tumultuous scene. You truly are the real Champion.





The Stuff Between Your Ears

Switch if off. Turn it off. Shut it down. And listen to God.

Our brains are overloaded. Our minds are being infiltrated with every possible thought imaginable. It is impossible in a society so technologically advanced to absorb the daily news, Wisteria Lane and government politics without losing some very important brain cells. And if that isn’t enough to enlist you to the local institution nothing will.

The enemy loves our busy minds. He uses them to his advantage. Unfortunately he knows more than we would like him to know. He knows what we like or dislike, our weaknesses and our fears. Worst of all is he is patient….his strategy is to take his time filling our loaded brains with lines like,

“You can’t do that. You aren’t skilled enough,” or “Go ahead. Jump in the fire. It won’t burn you.”

Hopefully jumping into a fire is an activity most of us would rather not do…but how often has he used other language to persuade us to believe him?

About 12 years ago I was a single parent, working and sick. The enemy is a coward. He used some of my sickest moments to fill my mind with deception, lies and vile falsehoods.

One night, lying in bed I heard the words, “You are going to die. Just give up. You will die and you ex-husband will get custody of your daughter.”

The devil was stupid. He should have known the one area that would keep me alive was my daughter.

At that moment I made up my mind I was going to get well and stay well because there was no way on God’s green earth I would let my ex-husband get custody of her. The devil’s words backfired on him reminding me of the one incentive to change my thinking.

God’s words are the opposite of the devil filled with love, hope and positive overtones. Positive thoughts give life, success and health.

The devil feeds us fabrications of fear, doubt, hate, and evil; anything to bring us down in despair, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

The key to determining the difference is God’s word. Learning his word expels evil. Using it, speaking it out loud will chase the enemy away. Avoid his negative, blurry, misrepresentations by not giving him a moment’s notice. Ignore him. Instead focus on God.

Have you noticed your thought patterns when you are tired? Have you sensed a shift from the positive to the negative? Have you thought certain thoughts and wondered, “Where did that come from?”

Be aware of what drops in your head. If it is distracting, dishonest or negative, don’t stay there. Renew your mind with God’s word; practice his positive outlook and believe it.

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

This process takes time, effort and study, but well worth it. It is crucial to keep your focus on God allowing him to change your thinking.

Why? Our thinking affects everything we say, do, and how we act. Understand this is not learned over night. Don’t allow self-condemnation to set in which gives the enemy a foothold. Keep trying and trust God to teach you.

God reveals his character as we filter the evil out of our thinking leaving our minds free and clear to hear him. The importance of simplifying our lives increases the time we have to spend alone with God.

The devil hates it.

And God loves it.





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