This week’s blog isn’t about EMS, Special Events or Martial Arts it’s kinda about life in general. As everyone knows by now I was a tournament level tennis player and played through college. I stopped playing around age 25 and just stated again this year after being elbowed in the eye twice during a pick up basketball game. I took on a student, a very talented young lady and I am teaching her the game. This is how the natural cycle works I was taught by Steve and now I am passing along my experience and teaching this young lady and one day she will pass on these skills to someone.
At the conclusion of our weekly lesson her dad , my student and I always talk about what we learned that week and what I want her to do during the upcoming week. The assignment I gave her was to practicing her service toss every day and serve 2 baskets of ball every time she goes to the court. I told her I want her to start playing matches and our philosophy is we play all comers. Meaning we play who ever wants to play us. I said to her,” you should even play the guy Scott”, who is the local courts “Top Hitter”. She got a look on her face like “are you crazy, he’s too good I can’t beat him”.
This is what my dad calls a teachable moments. I had to impart the warrior philosophy my tennis coach instilled in me years ago. What he impressed upon every student was to compete for every point no matter how hopeless it may seem. He had a no quit attitude and he expected every student he taught to have it. There is no ball he believed he couldn’t run down or would not be willing to run down. He bestowed the understanding that we could only worry about things we had control of and not to concern myself with anything else. I had absolutely no control over my opponent. I couldn’t control if he was better than me, older ,stronger or more experienced. I also had no control over the weather, the condition of the court, bounce of the ball or bad line calls. So I was conditioned to pay these things no attention once so ever. I was also taught that winning and losing is beyond your my control thus winning was never the goal. The goal was to compete and compete hard..
The things I had control over and Steve held us accountable, were being prepared to play every point to our maximum ability. I had control over my conditioning and I was expected to be in top physical condition at all times. You didn’t attend a Steve tennis camp, you survived it. It was impressed upon me that I had complete control of my attitude and that I must stoke the flames of desire and the fighting spirit for every point.
Steve constantly reminded us with “one more drill” that we could always practice more and improve . Per the Steve doctrine during a match never focus on everything pick one or two things and that’s it . I would chose “watching the ball” and “contact point”. Through my years as a tennis player and in life I am constantly amazed how far these rules have taken me. I’m constantly amazed at the number of people just unprepared or unwilling to compete as hard as they can even for a short period of time. I have learned this much about people, “ A Barking Dogs Rarely Bites”.
I passed these words of wisdom along to her with an added piece of my own and I told her if she did these things she will win way more than she loses but she will still lose , a lot but don’t worry about that because there is no such thing as losing in life, there is only experience. More importantly I told her,” If you do these things winning and losing won’t matter because you will always feel good about the effort you put forth and you will feel good about yourself and that is what we call confidence and confidence is unstoppable ”.
Steve like every great teacher was teaching his students about more than just tennis, but life . Jim Brown said it best in the movie Any Given Sunday : You do it as tough as it is possible to do. And you do that in all things. You die hard! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.