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Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio

"Splendor on the Grass: Venus at Wimbledon"

  rec 7-2-05  

1) 3:34 Short Essay Mp3

2) 4:10 Long Essay Mp3

SPLENDOR ON THE GRASS -
VENUS AT WIMBLEDON
=========================
[Col. Writ. 7/2/05] Copyright '05 Mumia Abu-Jamal


   To the surprise of some, I'm a tennis fan.

   Well, to be honest, it's to my own surprise.

   Tennis has always seemed like an effete, genteel, even snobbish game, and it never captured my interest.

   Years ago, an older guy on Death Row, Bro. Karim, mentioned his growing fascination with, of all things, tennis!

   I could hardly believe my ears.

   Why would this Black guy, in his later 50s, give a hoot about tennis?

   "Mu, brotha -- You gotta see these two young sistas -- from the ghetto of Compton, California, with braids in they hair, whippin' everything that come in front of them!"

   "Two *sistas*? C'mon, Bro. Karim -- playyin' *tennis*?"

   "Mu -- I'm tellin' ya!  And they just as *black*!  It's a wonderful thing to see, man -- seriously though!"

   "I ain't no tennis fan, Bro. Karim.  It just don't grab me; I can't make no sense of it."

   "Bro. Mu -- I'm sayin' -- I know you busy, man; but, just take twenty minutes, and watch them play this afternoon.  I guarantee -- I'm sayin' -- I *guarantee*! -- you'll become a fan!"

   "Bro. Karim -- you *guarantee*?  How you gonna guarantee, man?"

   "'Cuz, Mu -- these ain't just 'sistas' -- they Sisters!  From the same family! And, Mu -- they changin' the game!"

   I knew that Karim, a former trainer, loved boxing; but tennis?

   I was intrigued.

   I watched that afternoon -- and I've been a fan ever since.

   At this year's Wimbledon, it was with sheer pleasure that I saw the stunning rebound of Venus Williams, the elder sister of the two tennis stars, win, in straight sets, over the much-favored, younger, Russian-born star (and multi-millionairess) Maria Sharapova.

   In her semi-final victory she showed pure exaltation at her win, which came over the doubting chorus of commentators and sportswriters, who gave her little chance of winning.

   And then came the final -- two American women -- the 6-foot, 2-inch Lindsay Davenport, known as a master of ball placement, and groundstrokes; versus Venus Williams, and the doubts were still raised.

   "This is Venus's game, *if* she plays Lindsay like she played Sharapova."

   But commentators, at their very best, are but spectators of the game.

   Venus played.  And Lindsay played.  And like a seesaw in a children's playground, the games veered one way, only to turn, moments later, the other.  Twice, Venus came within a breath of losing to the better-serving Davenport.

   But a double-fault crept in; then, an aching back, and a Time was called, to allow a trainer to tape muscles in pain.

   Fierce hitting exploded between the two tall women, and at last, after nearly 3 hours of the seesaw, Lindsay, visibly wincing, launched a ball into the sagging net, and it was over.

   Venus looked like a child wrapped in a warm blanket of joy, leaping vertically, like a Masai warrior.  A great smile suffused her countenance, and the doubters fell silent.

   It took years, and fights, and great losses, but here, in tennis's greatest English-speaking shrine, on a green and fraying field, Venus Williams took the trophy that marked her once again, as Champion.

   For what seemed like a full ten minutes, Venus grinned and laughed like it was her first and greatest win.  Like it was new.

   And for a fan, it was a wonderful, thrilling moment to behold.

   For, Venus rarely showed her emotions on the screen.  She was the introvert to sister Serena's extrovert.  She was cerebral, calm, even placid in her comments.  And even when she won, it was often painfully bittersweet, coming at the cost of her beloved sister's loss.

   This time, joy burst forth like sunshine through clouds.

   She was, for now -- Champion.


Copyright 2005 Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

  [Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.

The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
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**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
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THANK YOU!!!

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at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.
========================================

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http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org
==============================================>

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
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AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
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175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

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visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com


The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa