“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Thrill of the Game

I have just finished watching the Mens' Singles Final at Wimbledon, between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. It was truly nail-biting - a five-set match with some marvellous ups and downs. First one man was winning, then the other. By the fifth set, I genuinely didn't care who won - they had both played such fabulous tennis that they both deserved it. It was a delight and a privilege to watch tennis being so well and so daringly played.

After four gruelling hours, Djokovic finally won. And paid generous and moving tribute to Federer in the post-match interview. I know it was easy for him to be generous when he had won, but to thank Federer for "letting me win" was both funny, and moving.

I couldn't help contrasting it to the lack-lustre Women's Singles Final yesterday, when Petra Kvitova wiped the floor with Eugenie Bouchard in two sets in under an hour - I found it quite dispiriting to watch. Kvitova's tennis was just in a different league to Bouchard's - all credit to her, but no fun to watch.  Hopefully Bouchard will have a chance another year.

It has made me realise (again) that so far as I am concerned, it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that matters. Both Djokovic and Federer demonstrated this over and over again - if one of them lost a game, they just picked themselves up and battled on, refusing to be downcast or put off. They didn't let setbacks affect their game, they just strove to be in the present moment, concentrating on the game they were playing. Which was what made it such a treat to watch. Even in the fifth set, there were long rallies, with multiple daring strokes.

And this is true not only in tennis, but in life. I hope that when life kicks me in the face, that I will remember today, and have the courage to follow their example, and pick myself back up and carry on, giving it my best.

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