I love tennis. I fell in love with it by total accident, during a sopping, rain-drenched fourth-of-July weekend at the shore. The streets flooded so badly, the water was thigh-high on my five-foot frame. We were stuck indoors at a bed-and-breakfast with no cable and only Wimbledon to watch on NBC.
My friend’s soon to be husband had played on the satellite pro circuit, so she knew the game and explained it to me. (Having Stefan Edberg to watch didn’t hurt, nor did David Wheaton lack in the ‘hot’ department of that semi-final.) Years later, she likes it–I get obsessed during the Grand Slams and have been known to suffer some serious sleep deprivation during the US and recently, the Australian Opens. I’m up to guessing my favorite players’ zodiac signs and nailed Nadal as a Gemini and Federer as a Leo 🙂 I can see the Aquarian in Venus, but Serena–a Libra?
Of course, I was home for ‘Breakfast at Wimbledon’ this past Sunday–drove home from PA right after the BBQ at my cottage community on Saturday to insure I’d be in front of my TV in time for that first serve. Andy Roddick played the no-words-left-to-describe-the-phenom Roger Federer, who, as John McEnroe so aptly put it, “makes the rest of …the undisputed greatest players of the Open era…look average.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Roger’s artistry in motion, but I rooted for Roddick. I had to. I don’t even count Andy among my favorite players, but in the past few tournaments I’ve seen a young guy who has transformed himself out on that court. And I’ve watched him persevere right into his first five-set match against the ‘greatest player of all time’ and hold his own up to that last–and only–devastating break of serve that cost him the match. Yes, losing that second set tiebreaker didn’t help, but in the past, Andy might have given up and ‘gone away’ as tennis commentators tend to say. But he didn’t. He got right back up and held on for three more sets, only to have what could have been the most meaningful win of his life become his most significant tennis loss, I’m sure.
Yet, if Andy wants to claim another Grand Slam title, he needs to persevere. He needs to take a hard, honest look at his match–go over what worked and be willing to change what didn’t. And he’s got to dig the deepest he ever has if he plans on walking onto tennis’ biggest stage again, let go of the past, and persevere another three, four, most likely five sets.
As writers, teachers, parents, people–don’t we need to do the same?