Bianca Andreescu is fantastic!
A 19 year-old powerhouse of a player against another powerhouse of a player, Serena Williams. Neither is a willowy wisp. Both are pure shock and awe. Wow!
It’s been said many times, in this column and in speeches, “Don’t ever think where you come from is a handicap.” Variations of this theme are many. All basically derive from the idea that somehow, where you were born, how you were brought up, or what kind of school you went to, all has some kind of bearing on what you are able to achieve.
It’s easy to get this attitude. If we grew up in small-town Alberta or Saskatchewan, as just one example, youngsters from town often turned up their noses at the kids who came to school on the bus. There were the “townies” and then there were the “yokels.” Townies had money. Farm kid families could barely afford shoes.
This attitude was everywhere. If you came from the “wrong” side of the tracks, you just weren’t as good as the people on the “right” side.
If you came from a bigger town than the one someone else came from, you were just automatically better. If that “better” person came from a city, say Edmonton, well, they too were better than somebody from Grande Prairie. And somebody from Toronto was better than somebody from Edmonton. And somebody from the United States was better than somebody from Canada, France or Mexico.
This might come from something buried deep in our ancestry. Something in our genes. If we came from a big tribe, we could easily whup those upstarts trying to kick us out of our trees. Sort of like, confidence is half the battle.
But the other half is indeed, big numbers. The whole reason underlying why Western society relies so much on technology, and not the birth rate, to stay ahead of its enemies.
The bottomline here is, we can talk day and night about how unfair life and people are. We can blame our hometown, ethnicity, skin colour or sex, or any excuse we want to grab. We argue that people should be judged on merit. But something in our DNA keeps dragging in old, old, perhaps millions of years old, habits.
We can rid ourselves of this thinking. Not easy, but possible. We’ve done it with hockey. Nobody cares where you got your defence or goalie or forward skills. Nobody cares if you are Canadian or Swedish or American. Same with curling. Nobody cares if you come from Newfoundland or Alberta.
Now, Bianca Andreescu announces the same thing, on a world stage no less.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can do it.”
Just as importantly, never assume something made in a big city has to be better than what you might get right across the road.
We won’t all be superstars, or even stars. Probably, just people. But never, ever let anybody think they are better than you. Not because of where you were born, grew up, where you trained or where you went to school, or all the other reasons used to beat you down. Never!