Tennis is one of the most difficult sports to learn, and one of the most complicated to master. This is why we have a sport in which only the top 100 make a living at it and the rest spend their lives trying. As we watch Roland Garros this week, we can all watch in real awe at the fantastic plays all the people on TV show us.
The truth is what separates the better from the rest are just the management of a few points and the control of the time at the precise moment. This mastery is of course incredible and that is why we, who love tennis, can watch a match or a particular play more than once to marvel at the ball control. As life if we could just control it for a little longer. Like life we only control the ball for a short while.
As I watched this morning some Tennis Channel at 4 am., I realized the unnecessary pressure we put all our kids under in the local USTA tournaments. Tennis in our family is not about being the number one in our neighborhood, our local academy or the state, or the country. For us tennis is about trying, it’s about life.
What does that mean? It means for us tennis is waking up early daily, organizing our time, planning the how to beat the day and end up a better person at the end of it. It means sharing time with other kids, learning from whomever we can and teaching those we see are in need of help.
Tennis is about self-control, managing losses, getting over tough situations and learning to keep trying even though we know that there will be always somewhere in the world, someone working harder than one. Tennis is understanding the stages in life and smiling at the end of a warrior effort, it’s about never giving up and keeping a smile in victory or defeat. Tennis is about winning with average days and its about becoming an adult.
“Tennis is one of the most difficult sports to learn, and one of the most complicated to master. This is why we have a sport in which only the top 100 make a living at it and the rest spend their lives trying.”
An honorable and respectable man or women, who understands that nothing is given to us for free and that in order to succeed in this life we need our feet on the ground and our eyes in the sky. Tennis is about helping others, respect, audacity, hard work and values and about being better citizens.
We live in a society in which most likely our kids will marry someone who comes from a divorced family. Those kids need the foundation of the hard lessons learned through tennis early on and need the link to a sport that they can carry for the rest of their lives. As we prepare our kids for the future tennis is what unites us as we grow, because it takes a special kind of person to like tennis and to master it. It takes a long time.
Personally I feel here in the US, not enough people understand what tennis means, including the governing body. Tennis is not about tennis. Tennis is only the vehicle that we use to contribute to our society. To make the country better than it is, to make our kids have the tools they need in their life when they leave the nest.
So, while others are pursuing a professional path with odds that don’t exist, we are focusing on life, on being better persons, better people, better citizens. We are trying to become the kind of citizens that the country desperately needs. Honorable, hard working, decent, fit, helpful to others and courageous, we may lose more games that we won, but we will have learned that we are preparing our kids for life.
So, this weekend while we compete in Boca Raton at a local event, I will enjoy watching the kids fight it out, but I will enjoy more knowing that we are well on our way to be better Americans. For that I understand that tennis is not about tennis. Tennis is about preparing our champions for life. I wish more people shared my point of view. Share if you agree.
I can be reached at @palenquej