If there's one thing I think we can do as adults it is this; find something that brings us lifelong joy and pass down that joy to the next generation. Something that maybe hasn't always been easy but has definitely always been worth it. Worth whatever struggle you had to go through to find that thing that gives your life meaning and drive. And if you're tennis star Venus Williams, there is absolutely one pursuit that outweighs all other pursuits in her life; tennis. Venus Williams is spreading her love of tennis to kids through a great new partnership... and there's even a cool t-shirt for it.
Venus Williams has been playing tennis most of her life, but it became her profession at the young age of 14 in 1994. In the 25 years since then, Williams has gone on to win four Olympic gold medals in the singles play area of the sport as well as seven Grand Slam titles. She and her sister Serena Williams have also won titles in the doubles division. While there might be some people who would find it difficult to maintain a true fire in their bellies after 25 years of doing the same thing, this is not an issue for Williams. In fact, she has decided to partner with Net Generations, a United States Tennis Association organization that is dedicated to spreading the love of tennis to a new generation. Williams has become the face of their Net Generations Giving Back initiative in an effort to encourage kids to keep playing tennis when life gets in their way.
Williams deeply understands how life can potentially get in the way of a person's dreams, of course. She did not come from a wealthy family or have an army of trainers; so much of her journey comes from her own natural talent and drive. As Williams told Romper, she got involved with the Net Generations Giving Back initiative because she wants to help kids like her:
It’s extremely important to me to partner with organizations, like Net Generation, that give kids the opportunity to be exposed to sports, work hard and feel good about achieving something. Tennis gave me the opportunity to do everything that I have pursued and accomplished in my life and I always make sure to take the opportunity to pay this forward. I aim to inspire and spread goodness and value that Net Generation aligns with these goals. Their mission is to empower the next generation of tennis superstars by making it easier for kids and their parents to learn and get excited about tennis. It is so important to make tennis more accessible and you better believe I will always be out there spreading the love!
To that end, Williams has designed a limited edition t-shirt with her ELeVen by Venus Williams activewear line at locations throughout the U.S. Open, with proceeds from the sales used to support the Net Generation Giving Back initiative. Kids who register to be a part of Net Generation will also receive the t-shirt free of charge once they register at NetGeneration.com. The offer is while supplies last.
Net Generation aims to connect qualified coaches with kids hoping to play tennis through its Giving Back initiative, as well as offering coaches and parents access to the USTA's expertise to help foster progress with young learners. And beyond that, Venus Williams has some advice to offer kids who are passionate about tennis but might be feeling like they want to give up, as she told Romper:
I would tell them to push past distraction, pursue their passions and most importantly, success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey and there is something to learn from every experience. No matter how difficult, getting back up is what makes you great! You won’t win everyday, but you can have a winning attitude everyday!
If that's not enough to inspire the next generation to find joy in tennis, I don't know what will.