Montgomery, Alabama – At Alabama State University, there are many prominent alumni such as 2 Chainz, Reggie Barlow, Ralph Abernathy, Rickey Smiley and other notables. Thirty minutes down the road is Tuskegee University who has produced Keenan Ivory Wayans, Ralph Ellison, Betty Shabazz, Booker T. Washington and more. These prestigious universities have many differences, but one thing in common they do possess is developing successful people that are highly influential in society.
Fortunately for Roderick Williams, current Tuskegee University tennis player, he had the opportunity to attend both schools for more than a year. He transferred from Alabama State University because of some personal disputes, which he said initially he regretted. After time, he learned to appreciate his decision and is currently boasting a 3.2 GPA. He's the “Ace” aka the man with a hefty amount of swag on his racket.
I asked Roderick how he would continue to stay successful after transferring and facing ridicule from family, friends, and even people he trusted. He replied with an analogy, “If I miss a shot, I’m just having a bad day right now. See I don’t wanna just be out on the court pouting and all that, cuz it’s just gone make it worse, you feel me? And it’s just gone take me more out of the game. You just wanna stay calm as possible. Just forget about the last point, Imma still do the same thing.” In his opinion, the most important thing about tennis and maintaining success is to be disciplined in the mind. Throughout the interview he often repeated that staying poised is the main reason why people succeed or fail.
In the seventh grade he knew that he could play on an elite level and credits waking up at 6 am for weeks at a time to ensure that he was prepared for United States Tennis Association. Roderick recalls facing a 6’6 guy that was serving 125 mph. He continues saying "I knew I had a chance, when I broke his serve on the first set at four all. I knew then that all I gotta do is break him one time and ill crush his dreams.” For Roderick Williams, breaking that set symbolized his hard work paying off and he now continues to keep that mental image in his back pocket to ensure that he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to.
Despite transferring in the middle of his formal education, the new Tuskegee Golden Tiger has proven that he has more than enough discipline to be successful and competitive in academics and athletics. In the next two to three years he plans on becoming a tennis pro and helping youth pursue their tennis dreams. In conclusion I would like to leave you with a quote you can apply to your life from Roderick Williams himself, “Think, it’s a game.“