On Monday, July 3, the Wimbledon Championships, once again, will kick off in London, England.
In the tennis world, Wimbledon is the most special tournament. And for good reason, too.
There’s the unpredictability of the grass which always causes shocking upsets.
There’s the appearance of English royalty, the sweetness of the traditional strawberries and cream, and the class and prestige of the All-England Club.
Yet this year, something is different.
Manchester. London Bridge. Finsbury Park.
All of these places have been the subject of terrorist attacks, and all of the attacks have occurred with weeks of each other.
And while this isn’t the first time that a terrorist attack has occurred in England, it’s the first time in a while that England, one of the most powerful and influential nations in the world, has looked so vulnerable.
The worst news: it might not even be over.
The UK Terror threat level still remains at SEVERE, which means that security and armed forces are still on high alert.
While England still continues to pick itself up after the deadly attacks, it’s worth noting that one of the attacks, the attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park, was not perpetrated by an Islamic extremist. This attack highlights the difficulty in preventing terror attacks. As more people who don’t necessarily fit the terrorist profile resort to hatred and violence, it is nearly impossible to identify potential terrorists.
And while we condemn the Islamic extremists for their repulsive actions, there is no reason to take out anger on the Islamic religion and people as a whole. We are no better than terrorists if we attack innocent people simply because of their religion.
As former President George Bush did after the 9/11 attacks, it would be wise for British PM Theresa May to make a statement about respect for Muslims as well.
These recent attacks certainly raise security concerns for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament. However, it is important that the tournament serves as a symbol of inspiration, tradition and entertainment and does not contribute to the fear in England.
If anything can cheer up a nation’s spirit during a tough time, it is sports.
We saw it after 9/11 with George Bush and his famous Yankee Stadium Pitch. We saw it at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, at a time where there were many doubts over government corruption. And now, we will see it in England with the greatest tennis tournament.
This is what makes Wimbledon so special this year. It can serve as a symbol of hope for Britain. It can show the terrorists that no matter how much they attack us, we will not change our lives for them. It can bring the people of England together, even at such a anxious and dark time.
And while given Andy Murray’s current form, there might not be a winner from the UK this year, we know that he, other English players, and all the other athletes will be playing with a little bit more in their hearts.