Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tennis legend Arthur Ashe's theodicy

I first read this story from Methodist Message June 2009 issue. Then I found a more elaborated one at Caroline Newswire website (edited version):

One of tennis’ most recognizable and revered players is the late Arthur Ashe. Ashe was a top ranked player in the 1960’s and 70’s. Raised in the segregated south, he was the first African-American tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament. Over the course of his storied career, Ashe won 33 career singles titles and 18 doubles. Ashe died on February 6, 1993 after a courageous battle with HIV.

Ashe was much more than an athlete though. His commitment to social justice, health and humanitarian issues left a mark on the world as his tennis did on the court. You can read more of about his life and legacy on his website at

During his battle with HIV, Ashe received letters from fans from all over the world. He read all of his letters, but only replied to one. The fan who wrote to him asked him, “Why does God have to select you for such a bad disease?

Ashe replied, “In the world, there are 50 million children who start playing tennis each year, 1 million of them really learn to play tennis. Half a million manage to learn professional tennis. 50,000 come to the circuit, 5,000 reach the grand slam. 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 reach the semi-final round, 2 reach the final round, and only one wins the championship. When I was holding the cup, I never asked, ‘God, why me?’ and today in pain, how could I ask him, ‘why me?

1 comment:

Steven Sim said...

Bow my head in deep respect to Ashe and adoration to his god.

Steven Sim