Yesterday, as Donald and Melania Trump continued to try to show the world that they had passed qualifying rounds with their first major trip abroad as the First Couple, veterans were grinding through matches on outside courts in Paris to make it into the main draw at the French Open.
At least one of the Trumps, according to news reports, has trained extensively for being on the world stage. Melania has gone to great lengths to instruct her staff how to pack suitcases with designer clothes so that she and her husband look the part for every stop on their trip. She has also been trained in protocol when she steps on a new court — I’m sorry, I meant steps into a visit with a world leader.
Meanwhile, tennis pros who are not household names and who usually do not have staff to pack their suitcases or rackets are embracing the crowds in Paris who show up for the qualifying rounds. For the pros, unlike Donald Trump, size doesn’t matter. They are grateful that loyal fans who find their way to remote courts appreciate the skill and determination needed to compete.
One of the pros is celebrating her 20th anniversary of playing at the French Open. Virginie Razzano has dropped considerably in the rankings, and at 34, her legs are not nearly as fresh as they were when she first appeared at Roland-Garros decades ago. But she still loves her sport and loves to compete. She still wants to show up.
I want to run 20 marathons. I have two more to go. My legs feel a lot heavier than when I ran my personal best, a 3:40 about 10 years ago. At the time, I hoped to go even faster. I never did, but it turned out the city where I ran a 3:40 was where my daughter was born three years later, so that marathon will always be my favorite.
This year, my husband and I will do a marathon together — his first and my 19th. I’m more excited for him than I am for me! We don’t need to be the fastest, best trained, or best dressed. The elation of working hard to be out there and finishing together will be more than enough!