Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Overcoming Obstacles: Tennis Great Doris Hart

Most people have probably never heard of tennis great Doris Hart. Hart is one of only three women (Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova are the others) to have won singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles in each of the Grand Slam tournaments. In fact, in 1951, she played all three Wimbledon titles in one day and won them all!

Ms. Hart died last Friday at the age of 89. As a child, Ms. Hart overcame osteomyelitis, a condition that permanently impaired her right leg and which limited her mobility. Doctors had urged an amputation, but Ms. Hart's parents rejected the idea. Hart spent much of her childhood bedridden. Yet, from her bedroom window she could see children playing tennis at a nearby park. She vowed one day to play the game, and play she did. She won 325 titles, 35 of them Grand Slam events.

As a teenager, I was inspired by reading her autobiography, Tennis with a Hart. In the book, she wrote, "Never feel sorry for yourself. The only antidote for self-pity is faith, courage and patience." I'm thinking of re-reading the book. I wonder if I'll be inspired again.

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