I’ve always loved watching tennis.
It’s one of the few sports that gets my adrenaline pumping, making me grip the hand rest on my couch in frenzy, cheer loudly and exclaim even louder when players win or lose.
Most of it was to do with watching tennis with my cousin and my grandfather- tennis enthusiasts, both. It was our time together, gathering around the TV, watching people play. I must have been 10 when I began watching the game.
On the verge of 40 now and watching a man called Roger Federer lift his 20th Grand Slam title, I am filled with a thrill like nothing else. When he was overcome with emotion on court, as he accepted the prize, I felt myself choke up. When he smiled in that self-effacing, humble and delightfully child-like way, my heart lifted several notches.
As he took his victory lap this evening at the Australian Open, I couldn’t help but clap loudly, palms stinging, even though the only people who could hear it was my family in the same room. I didn’t care. The moment deserved applause. And that’s what I wanted to give it.
In no particular order, some lessons came to me as I watched this 36-year-old on screen, earning the respect of millions around the world.
- Life is what we make of it. We get curve balls, serve double faults, get unfair decisions from the chair/ line umpires and things don’t always go our way. But how we come out of all these things determines who we can be.
- Grit is the secret to getting better. At anything. I’ve learnt more and more that this is true.
- Stay away from controversy. Be yourself. Be kind, be helpful, be generous in sharing what you know. Don’t get into situations where you know nothing.
- Have a smile for people. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
- Work hard. On your body. On your game. On your relationships. You can tell he does all three incredibly well.
- It’s okay to cry. In the face of overwhelming odds and in the moments of indescribable glory, the tears must fall.
- Find something that you love and pursue it till the ends of the earth. And he’s done it. Literally. With the four Grand Slams to his credit.
- Thank people. Be grateful for their presence in your life. They are your real champions, the ones who helped get you where you are. Gratitude always comes back to help you.
- Take breaks when you must. Listen to your body. Listen to your soul. They are never wrong.
- Be a champion. Be the kind of person whom people look up to as a source of inspiration and yet, be the kind of person whom you can sit down and have a cup of coffee with when everything is done.
Not that hard, is it?
Day 28 of Daily writing