Life As Tennis

I love tennis.  I love the back-and-forth strokes – powerful blasts to the corners of the court, or slices that twist away from the opponent, or soft drop shots that just fall over the net.

It’s mano à mano or womano à womano.  No team to fall back on.  And if you lose, you’re out of the tournament – no second chance.

It’s so stark.  It’s easy to lose more matches than you win.  And you have to win every match to win the tournament.

In life, as in tennis, we lose a lot.  This goes wrong, that goes bad, you can’t remember how to do something, moments loom above you like a dark cloud, you give your all and then everything falls apart.

So in the face of such loss, what do you do?  It would be good to follow the example of Aryna Sabalenka – the woman on the right in the photo.

It was yesterday.  Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan had just defeated Sabalenka from Belarus in the finals of a big tennis tournament in the United States.  It’s hard to tell who won and who lost.  Rybakina was the better player on the day but the revelation is Sabalenka.  She’s light and laughing, a tremendous competitor who knows that in any match full of respect and caring, tennis wins.  Kindness wins.

Gracious in defeat.  Whether it’s unrequited love, being passed over for a promotion or collapsing a hundred metres from the finish line, a sweetness may bubble up within the not knowing, the not doing, the failing.

May I hold my head high in future moments of despair

May I smile when someone is far better at something than I am

May I allow life in all its ups and downs to caress me

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