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Écrit par Jerome   
18-09-2006
Un petit rappel du discours de dédé lors de l'entrée de steffi dans le Tennis Hall of Fame :

Presenting His Wife, Stefanie Graff, for International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction
Sunday, July 11, 2004

"I truly consider it a rare honor to stand here today before so many
of you that have done so much for our sport and have meant so much to
me and Stefanie. Looking out across this audience filled with warm
friends and great champions I am overwhelmed with the history and the
tradition of this moment."

"As I attempt to find words worthy to introduce the person that has
changed my life, I realize that the words have yet to be invented that
are large enough, colorful enough or true enough to express the heart
and soul of this woman that I love."

"Stefanie, I wonder what can I possibly say to do justice to the way
you've lived your life and to the lives that you have changed."

"I began several years ago on the small chalkboard sitting in our
kitchen, a tradition that I've carried on every night. At the end of
each day I have picked up the chalk and tried to express the many
things you mean to me. Sometimes just a brief line, sometimes a short
story, but always just the overflow from a grateful heart, and yet
after these months and years of writing to you each night I have never
been at a shortage of ways to reflect the light you've brought into my
life. And now how ironic that in these few short moments I need to
capture in words these things I so deeply appreciate in you. Maybe I
can say it to you this simple way."

"Not long ago we were on the road and I looked out our hotel room
window from the upper floor of a very tall high rise. I could see the
rooftop of an old and beautiful cathedral. It was stunning with its
carved stone and marble - all done so perfectly. I could not believe
the work of art I was seeing and I wondered how many years did they
take to create this and what drove them to be this committed? Then I
began to appreciate something greater. I realized that when this
rooftop was built it was by far the tallest building. In an age long
before airplanes or skyscrapers these artists believed each day as
they went about their work that no human being or one set of eyes
would ever see their creation. How could they not have cut one corner?
How could they consider no task routine? I can only think it came from
a place deep inside - the need to be true to themselves was their
reason and their reward."

"All of this has helped me to understand you just a little better,
never needing applause to be your best, only needing to give the best
your soul could give to feel complete."

"From the roar of voices inside the lines of center court to the
quietness of a child's bedroom that generous soul that unbending
strength that soft spoken integrity has not been shaken. The arena of
tennis simply gave you a platform and an opportunity to refine those
inner qualities even more."

"You have always been about the action not about the words. You have
never defined yourself by what you have achieved, rather you have
achieved by how you define yourself. And even now, it has taken my
breath away to see how you've quietly laid down your racket to pursue
love and motherhood with the same zeal and high standards you have
always demanded of yourself."

"No, no one has ever known you to be infatuated by your own
accomplishments. In fact, as I have often said, anyone who speaks with
you will most likely forget the great things you have done within the
first thirty seconds, but they will feel cared for, their feelings
engaged and you never let go of their heart until they know that they
are completely understood."

"The history books will record for posterity your ability to embrace
and rise above adversity, to play through injury and to win again, and
again and again."

"Far in the future people will analyze and discuss your place as the
greatest of your time. And as those future generations hear of your
strength and dominance they may be tempted to think that they know
you, or the real heart of a giant that beats inside of you. But for
those blessed enough to actually see first hand your quiet humility,
to watch you represent your sport with unmistakable dignity and for
those of us who are even more blessed to be lifted out of ourselves by
your laughter, to be on the receiving end of your always generous
heart, we will have etched forever in us something a statistic could
never contain."

"We have been touched deeply by your life. You have made us better and
we will never be the same. Stefanie, you have spent many years of your
life competing, but right here we stand in the ears of your children
and right now in my heart, you have no rival."

"Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the greatest person I have
ever known."
 
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