Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Two Weeks Each Year

There are only two weeks each year that I can watch my favorite sport in New York. Tennis players work tirelessly across climates and continents, but even the most ardent fans spend most of their time anxiously following along on television. We spend January on the edge of our seats, wondering whether Australia will shake up the world rankings before the Spring in Europe. May is spent studying players in France to determine who will be the most fit in the UK. And July is spent watching players wearing white compete for tennis's oldest championship. Its not until August that the grand slam circuit finally culminates in New York.

I spend at least one day at the US Open at the end of every summer, and I spent several hours today blissfully admiring Federer, Wozniacki, Azarenka and Wawrinka during their first round matches. The 90 degree heat and intense humidity were oppressive. The music emanating from multiple courts at once was distracting. The movement of guests throughout the stadium hindered visibility. The bright summer sun cast a glare over nearly the entire court.

… and that's only a fan talking! I left the stadium exhausted and dehydrated from the heat, though I spent the better part of seven hours sitting in a chair and sipping water (among other things).

As I sat in awe at the excellence and talent on the courts, I realized that athleticism is less the product of physical ability and more the masterpiece resulting from determination and work ethic. An athlete spends countless hours honing his craft, much like a PhD student masters his field. He learns to conquer his own mind to prevent distraction and focus on his objective, in the same way a surgeon approaches each procedure. He takes a long term view and recognizes the importance of the small steps along the way, much like a financial advisor manages a portfolio.

Most of us make an effort to perform moderately well in several aspects of our lives. But world-class athletes are not moderate… it's this mental drive and focus that sets them apart. And that's why we watch them. We're in awe of their ability to sprint across the court and hit a drop shot down the line, but ultimately we're in awe of the work that went into mastering the shot.

1 comment:

mjr615 said...

Well done Kris, great post.Now that King Roger is attacking the net, let's hope we can be in awe of him winning it all.