"I don't know if it's magic," says winger Gino Odjick, "but it worked for me."
Now, if they could just find a cure for Ranger forechecking.
Richard Williams, the father of two potential superstars in women's tennis, presents himself as an idealist who has resisted the lure of big money, kept his children away from the pressures of the junior circuit and tried to ward off premature publicity. Williams does deserve some credit for what he has done to protect his daughters, Venus (who turns 14 on June 17)and 12-year-old Serena, from overexposure. Yet Williams undercut his own message last week by appearing on an ABC Nightline segment dressed like a human billboard.
"The reason those kids go out there to play professional tennis, it's not because the kids want to go, it's the parents, the coaches, the endorsement companies, and everyone else that's rushing the kid along to be out there," Williams told Ted Koppel. At the time, Williams was wearing a cap and vest endorsing PowerBar, an energy food for athletes.
Heidi Johnson, head of tennis promotions for PowerBar, says that Williams does not receive endorsement monies from the company but that "something financial may well work out in the near future." Adds Johnson, "The girls use our product. We provide PowerBars to them." Williams also is paid an undisclosed "consultant's fee" by Reebok, which outfits the family for free. He does, however, do six to eight clinics per year in inner-city venues for Reebok.
Williams also made the point on Nightline that girls who go on the tour too early sometimes miss educational opportunities, ones that his daughters are presumably getting from being home-schooled in their Pompano Beach, Fla., apartment. He then tossed a misdirected dart at Steffi Graf. "I haven't seen one person yet at that age, 13 or 14, that was ready for life," Williams said. "We know that Steffi Graf's education and the way she speaks is not up to par."
Not up to par in which language, Mr. Williams, her native German or English, which she speaks fluently? Or perhaps you meant Italian, French or Spanish, all of which she is still studying.
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