East Jefferson General Hospital

Well, we are in the championship match. It was scheduled for Saturday night but weather forced it to be moved to Sunday. The men have their semifinals Saturday, and it appears they may move to Monday for the men's finals.

I think you see what I have said in various post cards all week that Grand Slam tennis is not for the faint at heart.

Thinking back over my 30 years in pro sports, having traveled with many pro teams in all major sports, as well as spending weeks in boxing training camps all over the world, much less the years of travel for Serena Williams, I have seen more than my share of ups and down in the non-heroic world of pro sports. What I have learned and experienced first-hand would fill volumes. Each volume filedl with emotional memories. Some I would like to forget.

I was in the locker room stretching the starting San Fransisco Giants pitcher, Don Robinson, for the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series, when the earthquake hit. First time and hopefully the only time I have seen steel beams bend like twigs.

I was in the corner for the historic boxing championship fights of my clients Michael Spinks, Riddick Bowe, Roy Jones Jr., and Bernard Hopkins. Close enough to feel the thunderous blows and feel my athlete's heart rate pound, as I provide water between rounds. Luckily, we won those fights, which is probably why I am able to write to you now from the U.S. Open as part of Serena Williams' team.

Serena has taught me much about what it is to be a great athlete both on and off the court. She reminds me of my 11-year client, Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith. Just good people all around. Ozzie wrote me into his Hall of Fame speech and put me on the first row of his induction ceremony, so I and one of my sons could hear him reference what I had done for his career.

Serena gave me a quote to use for my current book, "Stop Renting Your Health .Own it- a three step approach." My life and career changed when I met Mackie Shilstone."

My life is better for having had the opportunity to work with her. Some day all good things must end, which is true in life and sports. I will take away wonderful memories of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, to quote ABC Sports. But in the end, no one can ever take my memories away of working with gifted people just trying to be the best they can be.

Mackie Shilstone