Photo taken by Stephanie McBee at the US Open on August 31, 2022

What sparks delight? Watching Serena The Goat Williams soar! From her teen years wearing braids and beads to dominating the sport with a racket in one hand and a baby in the other- this edition of Sassy celebrates Serena and the GOAT inside us all.

GOATS Wear Crowns Too

The Flo(w) by Stephanie McBee

Words can't begin to describe the energy that was permeating throughout the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; so let me set it up for you: At 7:05pm the anxious anticipation of the night was thick in the air as a sea of tennis novices and snobs alike funneled through the gates of the stadium like a herd of cattle; everyone pushing up against each other all hoping we wouldn't miss a single moment of the night. In pure Stephanie fashion, I was prepared. I pulled out my trusty Android to catch the beginning of ESPN's broadcast, just to make sure the evening didn't start without me.

It was a muggy Monday night in the middle of August but that didn't stop the group of sports fans from huddling around me and my phone to watch the opening ceremony of a legend. Finally made our way into the stadium. Under the summer night there was not a cloud in the sky! The stars were out and shining bright... and baby, I mean ALL the Stars: President Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Gayle King, Queen Latifah, Laverne Cox, Spike Lee, Vera Wang, Katie Couric, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, and Gladys Knight just to name a few. But as famous as these A listers are, no other name was bigger than the name that brought us all to the Arthur Ashe Arena in Flushing Queens, New York- Serena Williams.

All eyes were locked and loaded on Serena as she gave her first serve for the last time at the US Open. The clock struck 7:30. This was the moment we all waited for... the moment we could see Serena take center court. The crowd's roar was deafening and at that moment it was the most beautiful sound in the world. Within the screams of adoration, I could hear the appreciation pouring out from the crowd. We were all grateful to this woman who dared to be the best at being herself.  

What we witnessed that night wasn't Serena's retirement...far from it. It was indeed everything she proclaimed in her Vogue interview. We watched her evolution. We watched this strong, beautiful woman play a game that she's loved since she was a child, and she played with her heart. She played like there was nothing to lose. She played like there was nothing on the line and like she never had before.

We watched a mother donning a fun and flirty tutu that perfectly matched her daughter's. We saw a black mom being fawned over, loved on, cheered for, and supported by the world in front of her little girl. That night, we heard a black woman be constantly referred to as "The Greatest of All Time." And indeed she is; but not just in tennis. We've never seen such an ascension from an athlete, to play their best games in their last week...and just get better with every minute of the game clock. She's the queen of the game.

At the end of the match she could’ve yelled "King me, Bitch" and we all would've kneeled in pure royal fashion. Period. Instead, she did a little twirl in absolute delight- a twirl every Black girl understood in our souls.

Serena is unstoppable. I don't care how many matches the stats say she lost, Serena was and will forever be UNDEFEATED.

Advocate Like The GOAT

Body+ by Brooke Campbell

Gut, trust it. Listen to your body.

Outspoken, yes ma'am. Speak up.

Ask questions. Come with a list.

Tenacious, push it real good.

Inspired by How Serena Williams Saved Her Own Life

An Evolution

Cramping My Style by Jenny Booth Potter

There are few questions that bother me more than “can women have it ALL?” I’m bothered because men are literally NEVER asked this terrible question. And because the answer is an unmovable NO. Women can't have it all, but not because we lack drive, intelligence, passion or perseverance. The answer is no because our society wont put systems in place that would make it possible.

When I became pregnant while working full-time, a fellow full-time working mom told me that when she felt like she was crushing it at work, she felt like a failure at home, and whenever she felt present and attentive with her family, she felt like she was dropping the ball professionally.

Well, I thought to myself. How am I going to do this? How does anyone do this?

I worked hard at figuring it out. I came up with new definitions of success for what being a full-time working mom looked like. I let go of not always being able to fit in with my friends who stayed home with their young kids, and I took on extra therapy sessions when my feelings of being replaced at work elevated to unhealthy levels.

It was at one such counseling session when my therapist said to me, “the only job you can’t be replaced at is your role of being a mom.” Immediately I was annoyed. Even if it was true, I did not want my entire identity tied to being a mom… or just my work for that matter. I wanted to be known for both. I wanted so badly to prove that I could do both. If regular people like me feel this way, I can’t imagine how superstars like Serena Williams feel- pulled in one direction by coaches, sponsors, fans, plus her own competitive drive but pulled in the other direction by the sweet whispers of her daughter longing to be a big sister.

I’m inspired by Serena’s words that she is not retiring, but rather “evolving” - that she is taking her past and bringing it with her into her future. That she can chase a new dream. That she has nothing to prove. May all of our dreams continue to evolve, knowing that we take everything from our past and present with us into our future.

She's Gotta Have It

by Austin Channing Brown

Serena Williams is out here wearing crowns on the court and off the court. She has an independent clothing collection, a fine jewelry collection (no, I cannot afford but yes I dream about this Queen deubre) and owns an investment firm that specifically looks to invest in businesses owned by underrepresented groups. Usually we use this space to talk about a must-have product that we love. But this week, we are using it to celebrate a business woman who invests back into her own community. None of us knew just how important Serena Williams would become to us all- as a tennis player, role model, business woman and ICON.  

GOAT Green Beans

Cravings by Jenny Booth Potter

If you visited me in Chicago anytime since 2010, I’ve probably suggested we go to the iconic Girl and the Goat restaurant. With Top Chef Season 3 Winner Stephanie Izard at the helm, the restaurant is my favorite mix of delicious, creative, and approachable. I’m constantly trying new things on the ever evolving menu. But one item I’m glad never changes from the menu is the… green beans.

Green beans? You might be thinking to yourself. Green beans! I would respond. The most flavorful, crunchy, delicious green beans of our dreams. And luckily, we can make them at home. Bon appetit!

Recipe slightly adapted from https://stephanieizard.com/recipes/magic_beans/