Arthur Ashe was perhaps best known for being the first African American to win at Wimbledon. But he was known for the courage and dignity he demonstrated when confronted with challenges outside of the realm of tennis. One of the biggest challenges he faced was contracting HIV AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion administered during the course of open heart surgery. At the time, a diagnosis of AIDS was essentially a death sentence. Here are some quotes from Ashe that demonstrate his character:
"If I were to say 'God, why me?' about the bad things, then I should have said 'God, why me?' about the good things that happened in my life."
"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
“I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full.”
To his daughter Camera, as published in Days of Grace: "I may not be walking with you all the way, or even much of the way, as I walk with you now. Don’t be angry with me if I am not there in person, alive and well, when you need me. I would like nothing more than to be with you always. Do not feel sorry for me if I am gone. When we were together, I loved you deeply and you gave me so much happiness I can never repay you. Camera, wherever I am when you feel sick at heart and weary of life, or when you stumble and fall and don’t know if you can get up again, think of me. I will be watching and smiling and cheering you on."