What is Shani Davis!

I can remember growing up during a time, at least in my community where the complete measure of a young African-American male was based on his football, basketball, or baseball prowess.  In many cases, attempts to live up to these expectations often where at the expense of a possible musical acumen or potential to play another “non traditional”  sport for that matter.  What was it that inspired parents like Richard Williams (Venus and Serena) and Earl Woods (Tiger Woods) to break the mold of traditional thinking in the “hood”.  Why are African-Americans just now realizing that we can excel in other areas of the sports world after years of striving to be the next Walter Payton, Magic Johnson or Ricky Henderson.

In high school I competed up to the junior varsity level in basketball, and through to the varsity level in golf.  As a member of an all African-American varsity golf team at a time way before the world knew of Tiger Woods, we were definitely perceived as an anomaly.  Interesting enough though, all of my classmates that excelled at other sports have since picked the game up.  So the next time your little Alan Iverson hopeful gets cut from his junior high basketball squad, just remember, it doesn’t mean he isn’t the next Shani Davis.

Born in 1982, Shani Davis is an American speed skater who competes in both short and long track speed skating.  At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Davis became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an individual Winter Games sport (1,000 meters) and the fifth black Winter Olympics medalist.


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