Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tennis is a game. And so is LIFE!

Life can be a fun game - if you allow it to be.  And yes, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win!  The key is how you process and enjoy it!

I often use the tennis court as an opportunity to grow as a woman - after all it is a mini version of life!  All of the experiences that I have and my responses are concentrated and condensed scenes that also happen off the court! 

As an example, recently I played an mixed doubles tournament (this is where there is one man and one woman on each side).  Our opponents were very good doubles players.  The man had hard and deep groundstrokes and the lady basically didn't miss!  She could return my partners serve without a problem - often doing a perfect lob over my head!

I missed a few shots and my partner missed a few shots too- it was a tough match!  After losing the first set I asked to switch playing sides with my partner.  He said no.  I asked if I could stay back in order to be able to play those lobs better - he declined again.  He didn't want to change one thing about our strategy he just kept saying "hit your shots".

Well - of course at this point I realized that I am never playing with this guy again.  He was completely inflexible and stuck in his ways.  He had no consideration for making me feel safe and confident on the court so that I could play better.  He was more focused on sighing and rolling his eyes when I missed a shot.

But this was not the lesson.  The lesson was how I responded to him.  I had choices on the court with my behavior.  I am responsible for my actions!  Here are a few options that I could do in this moment:

- stay focused on the game and do my best while complying to my partners request

- ignore his needs and do what I thought was right

- be all buddy buddy with the opponents to upset my partner

- be rude to my partner

- purposely make mistakes to lose faster

- sigh and roll my eyes when he hit into the net

There is no right or wrong answer per se - but there is cause and effect.  Other than the first one - the rest are going to aggravate my partner further  which will have him play worse.  So - for my best interest and for my own self respect - I went ahead and complied and we completed the match.

We lost in a third set tiebreaker when my partner double faulted and then gave up on an "easy" lob shot (which is what he called them yet he missed many of them too).

I was glad that they won when my partner defaulted the next match because of his disappointment in the loss - he was a very bad sportsman.

Sure my feelings were hurt when he was attributing the loss to my bad playing - however hurt feelings are not an excuse to hurt others.  I do not agree with the "eye for an eye" theory.  In fact - the more hurt that you feel - the greater the opportunity to be sweet anyway.  If someone is being unkind to me - they must have a terrible life and really need the most sympathy and kindness of all.

The moral of the story is not to make sure you pick the best partner to play with - it's knowing how to respond in an appropriate fashion when your match is in jeopardy.  Not too long ago I would have dumped the match to punish my partner back for being blaming.  This is huge progress for me to be able to truly focus and play the best I could in this situation.

And these moments of small incremental self awareness and growth are the things that make you have deeper understanding and self love!  And self love is the seed of loving others!

So, don't judge yourself by how you behave on the court when you win, look at the times when you lose and that is your entry to correcting, learning and growing.  Wisdom is born from pivoting while being kind to yourself for the past.  

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