More than a Game - November 16, 2021

tennis-fullOne of the main goals of this blog is that it will help you to understand who you are. To do this we must be tested, for only in testing and adversity do we truly know what is in us and what we are made of. Once we know this we can compare it to the standard of who were formed to be, or who we could be. This is what we have called “the best version of me.” Tennis is one of the best ways to help you know yourself and in the process improve yourself.


The problem is that this is not the reason why most people play tennis. They play rather to use it as an evaluation of themselves compared to others who play the game as well. Therefore winning is the tool they use to measure where they are. In the process most players find winning intoxicating because it builds their self esteem and proves their worth to the world around them.


The dilemma this creates is that the standard for them is other players; it is not using their gifts and talents to the utmost of their ability each time they take to the court. We have called this reaching their full potential. In order to do this accurately a very thorough investigation must be done into them that reveals the truth of who and where they are.


Tennis is one of several ways to explore and test people. What the game reveals is not who the best player is on a given day, but rather what right or wrong thoughts are occurring inside a player, what right or wrong emotions are being displayed inside a player, what right or wrong strokes are being exhibited. What is right is anchored in and built on and what is wrong is corrected and sought to be made right.


When all that is desired is to win, this seldom if ever occurs. In fact, what is often built is arrogance, self-centeredness, greed, popularity, vanity and ingratitude. As these grow the individual becomes worse off, not better off. Look at the most successful athletes and you will see these traits more often than not. The opposite of these are humility, selflessness, self-control, meekness, goodness and gratitude. These are the qualities that make great men and women.


Tennis is more than a game; it is a way of life. It is so much more than winning or a ranking; it is about developing life skills that will make you a better human being. In order to do this athletes will need to develop virtues and rid themselves of vices. The problem is many players develop vices and rid themselves of virtues. 


Recently a top Division 1 college football program fired their coach. One of the main reasons given for his dismissal was summed up by the Athletic Director of that school, “His performance was very good Sunday-Friday, it was his performance on Saturday that caused us to let him go.” Translation, if you don’t win you will lose your job.


It is this attitude that has come to dominate the world of sports; win or else. It is this attitude from which arrogance, greed, self centeredness and ungratefulness are developed. It is this attitude that caused so much pain in my life and the reason for which I have written this blog.


One day we will all die and what will be left of us are the memories not the trophies. We will then stand before our Maker and Judge and He will judge us by how we lived, not by our winning percentage. Everyone who walks on this earth leaves footprints, whether we realize it or not. The footprints that we leave on this earth will create the memories our life will be measured by.


Therefore what matters in this life is not if we win or lose but how we play the game. What did we do with the gifts and talents given to us? What did we do with the opportunities or setbacks handed to us? Did we make the world better or add to its problems? The tennis skills that will make us better players will also make us better human beings.