I have learned a lot of important lessons since I have been in Germany: Seattle, as it turns out, doesn’t have the worst drivers; there are 2 kinds of cold and the difference between them is staggering; the “bird” is in fact a universal affront; beer is not magically better in a foreign country—it’s just gross everywhere; sportswriters are just as abhorrently ignorant and adverse here as in the states; time “flies” at the same rate whether or not I am having fun, it’s science, so zip it; and love… well, it’s a battlefield. I don’t know where I got that last one, just came to me. While those are all gems, little nuggets of wisdom I will store for the rare, and rather unlikely moments in my future when an applicable instant will arise affording me the opportunity to share said lessons, there is one more that has become more and more relevant in my life: you can be good at something you do not enjoy. Mind bottling, right? (Right). Andre Agassi taught me this the first month I was here. Okay fine, his book did as well as the ghostwriter that undoubtedly wrote it for him—autobiography my ass. You hit 2,000 tennis balls a day since you were 13 at some tennis prodigy “academy”, that thought letting you sleep through your classes so you had enough energy for practice was somehow in your best interest as a human, so let’s cut the crap Andre. Not that this book was Pulitzer worthy or anything; largely anecdotal, it was still above the capacity of a middle school education. Baby steps, Andre. Sure, maybe you came up with that clever, one word title. Maybe. Anyways. He taught me this lesson. His entire book is about how he HATED tennis, but still managed to be pretty good at it. This is the story of my life recently. How so? I’m glad you asked. Here’s how: I hate losing, as do my teammates, but man, we sure are really good at it lately. I mean, we are making a living out of it, which is sort of ironic if you think about it, since our jobs kind of entail winning. Not every time, no no, of course not, but surely once, that seems reasonable.
There is a poem I once read in a John Wooden book that I’ll never forget: For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes—not that you won or lost—but how you played the game. I love this. Lately, this is what helps alleviate the pain and frustration of the losses, trusting that I did my best and gave the most I could give my team. And for a moment, I am settled by this thought that I did all I could. But then I remember I am not in 5th grade anymore, this is not rec-league and I said good-bye to juice boxes and orange slices at half time years ago. (That last point is rather troublesome though, those oranges were always so fresh and juicy, seems like professional athletes would still benefit from a little vitamin C, no?) Likewise, this also means I said good-bye to those pandering participation trophies and last place medals. The only thing last place gets you now is burned by Jim Rome and a significant drop in season ticket holders. Now it’s win or go home, literally. No one cares how hard you tried. I experienced this in college too, not to the same degree of course, though I would argue that is only because of NCAA regulations safeguarding athletes from overbearing, win-starved sports administrations and coaching staffs who seem to lack an affinity for adhering to rules. “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying”. Ah yes, what every mother hopes their daughter will learn the hard way in college. How did I get on this topic? Ugh, I digress. Let me see if I can string my ramblings together—losing blows. There, that was simple. I am so eloquent, mom aren’t you proud? It’s rhetorical, so don’t answer.
Since we still haven’t gotten that elusive first win (if up till now you didn’t get that we lost last weekend and are now 0-4, please never read my blog again) everyone is on edge, panicked. Now everything is about that. It has become the proverbial monkey on our backs. Speaking of monkeys on backs, what the hell does that even mean? Elephant in the room, that I get. Monkey on my back, I assume, is meant to mean a burden. Hello, has anyone seen Friends? Ross’s monkey Marcel… you are telling me you wouldn’t want that adorable monkey on your back? That’s a bold faced lie.
Alright, if you are still with me, we play this weekend at home, 8 am your time if you would like to catch it online. Donau-Ries is another tough team, but a team that is definitely beatable, and at this point, a must-win.
That is all.