Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE GUY I'M ROOTING FOR LOST

The graceful, keenly coordinated, focused Roger Federer inspires me.

Here's how he played on Sunday.

I almost didn't want to watch the tennis finals on Monday. I was afraid -- because he wanted to win so much -- that he might lose.

I sort of squint at tennis -- don't keep score. For some reason that I haven't analyzed, I don't. I avoid following the "love" score, and just let the words fly over me -- match point, ace, deuce, baseline, break point, double fault ... I nod, but am not really following what it means.

Gee ... wait a minute ... why?

JC , who was once a tournament level tennis player, knows the game. Maybe my deliberate ignorance is because he's an expert?

Not only am I NOT an expert, but I've deliberately NOT learned even the basic terms that everyone in the audience knows.

(Well, whatever the reasons are -- it only affects JC and me, and we have fun watching tennis together, especially when Federer's playing.)
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There are other sports heroes whom I admire, but Federer -- who cried when he lost the Australian Open, who cried the first time he won Wimbledon -- who didn't cry when he lost the finals Monday ... that brought tears to my eyes. Federer's spirit, his ability to win -- I don't want him to lose what inspires me.

Okay, when he's older, and other lost matches or injuries indicate that he's not going to be able to keep winning, of course he'll retire. When the time comes, I'll accept that -- but not now.

Right now I'm picturing him, thinking of how he must feel today and my sense is -- he's not mourning. Or reviewing what he might have handled better in the game that he lost. He's thinking ahead, planning what to work on before the next competition.

Federer's direct connection to what's important -- Federer's ability to be on the moment at the moment -- that inspires me. That's what I feel, and learn, and want to emulate when I watch Roger Federer -- with keen coordination, keen focus and grace -- playing his game.

He's a dancer.

Hey, I bet I don't bother with the terms that belong to game because I'm a dancer watching a guy moving in ways that I'll never learn or be able do.

Roger Federer is a dancer.

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