COCO CAN’T HAPPEN IN A CUCKOO SOCIETY
By Akin Ojumu
There’s a lot to be said about Coco Gauff’s rise to the top of the tennis world. Here are just a few that come to mind.
As I think about this, I’m reminded of a saying among the Yoruba people. It goes like, “Omo to ba maa je Asamu, ati kekere lo ti nse enu samu samu.” What this means is that “a child that’s likely going to achieve greatness in life will begin to exhibit the signs right from childhood.”
Coco Gauff's passion for tennis started from the time she was just a child.
The chances for success in life increase exponentially when a child is raised by parents who appreciate the gift they were born with, believe in their potential, and are willing to invest in them.
“My dad told me I could do this when I was eight, and obviously, you never believe it,” says Coco Gauff. They took her to watch champions play at the highest level.
Happy is the child whose parents will give up everything to help their child achieve her dreams.
Coco Gauff’s parents quit their jobs and their careers to help their daughter pursue tennis full-time. The family soon went from being a “two-income family” to a “no-income family” as a result. They had to rely on their extended family for support.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).
Coco has been honing her tennis skills with a relentless training regimen since she was a 6-year-old child when she took up the sport.
Happy is the child fortunate enough to be born in a society where talent, hard work, and excellence are valued, appreciated, cultivated.
Growing up, Coco Gauff participated in multiple tennis tournaments organized by various organizations in the country. She won many trophies and earned monetary rewards well before she even became a professional tennis player.
A child who lives in a country where the government provides ladders of opportunity to anyone willing to climb is more likely to thrive and achieve greatness than a child who is unfortunate enough to find herself in a country governed by visionless miscreants who see government as a tool for self-enrichment.
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2).
Dreams die in lands ruled by a wicked ruler, and potentials tend to perish in the places where cruelty and chaos reign supreme.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Role model was crucial to Coco Gauff’s success. Her inspirations are the Williams’ sisters, Venus and Serena. She watched them play live and also spent hours watching videos of their tennis matches.
“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29).
Coco’s success didn’t happen by happenstance. Like her dad rightly noted in an interview, “When it comes to something like tennis, Coco works hard. This is not an accident. She might be overnight popular, but she’s not an overnight success.”
While the naysayers doubted her skills and never thought she could become a great tennis player, Coco Gauff didn’t pay them any heed. She proved them wrong by working her socks off.
The likelihood of a Coco Gauff happening in Nigeria is slim to none. And that’s not for want of talents, potential, hard work, or supportive parents. The reason it can’t happen there is simply because Nigeria is a graveyard of dreams and a sepulchre where potentials are interred.
In Nigeria, honesty and integrity are endangered species. A Coco Gauff is hard to come by in a land that celebrates mediocrity and denigrates excellence.