Athletes are Born and Champions are Made

By George Brathwaite | Dec. 25, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

George Brathwaite

They are made because of their persistence, courage and a desire that erupts from within. Such was the case experienced at the recently concluded National Championships at which I was privileged to observe an array of talent, ability and performances ranging from among the young, old and older athletes such as we have not seen in decades.

Jim Butler represented the old magnificently by once again emerging as our National champion after a lapse of fourteen (14) years and by displaying a range of versatility by also winning the Sandpaper Racket event and the over 40 competition as well. If my memory serves me well, Jim was once considered as having one of the best backhand drives in the world when he last won the title in 1990 and after being sidelined by back injury? In the years following, he displayed not only DESIRE but the kind of RESILIENCY that champions are made of by performing not only brilliantly but remarkably.

The older generation was also brilliantly represented by such legends of the sport as George Braithwaite who after not having played a tournament since December 2013 when he competed in thirteen undefeated matches, emerged with two Gold, three Silver and one Bronze medals and Certificates as displayed below and hopes to be back in 2015 for all Gold. 

Then there was Danny Seemiller, Dell and Connie Sweeris, Errol Resek, Dave and Donna Sakai, Richard Hicks, Barry Dattel, Lily Yip and yes, you guessed it… she’s back… Patty Martinez-Simons (who I believe still has the honor of being the youngest female to win the National title). These players are still performing at a high level and performed well they did.

By now, you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned the younger generation as yet. It’s an old custom of mine whenever I begin a new book, I always read the last chapter first then I know without a doubt what the future holds and believe me, our future is an exceptionally bright one. Many of you are familiar with such names as Timothy Wang, Kanak Jha, Allen Wang, Jack Wang, the Alguetti brothers, Adar, Gal and Sharon, Prachi Jha, Kunal Chodri who played a magnificent seven game FINAL against Jim Butler and led five to one in the final game to emerge as the runner up in the Open, Crystal Wang (who performed brilliantly to overcome Jiaqi Zheng the number one seed), Angela Guan, Judy Hugh, Lily Zhang, Ariel Hsing, Tina Lin and Amy Wang… but believe me there are many, many more closely following in their footsteps… one misstep and they would become the followers - you have to see it to believe it. The future is indeed a bright one and there is a shining light at the end of the Tunnel.

My hope is that our young players continue to progress with the help of Clubs and Coaches such as Lily Yip Sports TTC, ICC TTC, SVTTC, WCTTC, NJ TTC, Westchester TT, MDTTC, Triangle TTC, Spin NY TTC and others. Thank you for your time. Until such time, next time.and have a happy holiday season.