Photo from Splash NewsMartina Navratilova's fight with breast cancer has just shattered my image of her invincible facade.
Once called "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived" by Billie Jean King herself, Navratilova revealed to People this week that she broke down in tears when a biopsy came back positive for cancer in her left breast.
I can't blame her.
I remember hiding in the bathtub when I first found a lump in my breast at 18 -- one that proved non-cancerous fortunately.
But the news that Navratilova is sick somehow shook me this morning because she's freakin' Martina Navratilova.
Is there any female tennis player that kicked ass like her? Any female athlete, for that matter? The woman won more singles titles than anyone who ever played the game -- male or female.
That shroud of invincibility that we throw over our sports stars is a strange and complex thing. But we do it to them, not the other way around.
We line up the Alex Rodriguezes of the world as role models to our kids, then blame him for ruining our children's ideals when they fall short of perfection.
And even when it's something out of their control -- like breast cancer -- we sit back in horror and feel a chink of our own armor has fallen out. If the invincible can cave, we're forced to face our own frailty.
The good news in all of this is Martina's cancer is said to have been caught early -- she got her mammogram, she has an excellent prognosis. Hopefully her star status will remind another woman to go get her mammogram today.
Did this one throw you for a loop?