I have just been sitting in awe as I watched the Australian Open Men’s final between Novak Djokovic who defeated Dominic Thiem to win that title of the 8th time. That is a very impressive feat!
Later today we have the Super Bowl.
These two events may not have that much in common at first glance. They are both championship matches in their respective sports, they are both sporting events. Thats it, right? To me it is more than just that.
You see, to me, sports especially at the highest levels of excellence allows us all to peek inside of the focused mind. It is in these transcendent moments we understand what it is to have the drive to push your ability to its peak. All the work over hours and hours of practice and study leading to those moments at the top of the chosen discipline. It is the measurable of hard work, definable and indisputable. The simplicity of cause and effect or so it would seem.
Singles Tennis is an individual sport. They may have teams of trainers and nutritionist, emotional support etc… but they are on the court all alone facing an opponent that wants to win as much as they do. It is a sport that requires precision. It requires a laser focus and the ability to shake-off disappointment in a moment to move on to the next stroke, or point. If you loose, it is only you that played and only you that is there to shoulder the disappointment. There is no one else to blame. If you win, well, to the victor go the spoils.
American Football is a team sport, requiring an almost operatic performance from each side, offense and defense, of each team, each and every time the ball is in play. They must learn to trust in each person they play with to do their job flawlessly to execute the play, and it can still be foiled by the opposition! Exacerbating to say the least. Then they must all collectively put the past behind them and move on, maintaining focus on the ultimate goal. You may think, “Ah, but in team sports at least if you loose there is someone else to blame even if you have to share the glory when you win”. That is not the case though, you don’t place blame in team sports. You win as a team and loose as a team. All for one, and one for all.
Even though all the differences exist between these two examples of sports. They are linked. They are compelling, not because of the sport but because of our attraction to those that can sacrifice themselves to achieve. We all admire that focus, that drive and determination. It can show up as an example to each of us in our daily lives to do what we can in our profession, or in our lives in general, to be the best we can be. To shrug off the mistakes, making a mental resolve to improve, then moving on with the task at hand.
I love to play tennis and I loved playing American Football, I love trying my hand at most all sports and to simply try to increase my fitness through whatever means are available. I have never had the talent to be a professional, but I can receive those moments of perfect clarity and focus from time to time while I push my body to its peak of the given endeavor. Those moments of focus seem to come easier when the body is fully activated, that is one of the addictive things about physical exercise. It is the opening of the door to transcendent focus. I believe that is why we enjoy watching excellence in all its forms. Why we are attracted to those displays being "in the zone". That is our glimpse into a state of being that our souls want to reach.
So let’s all get out there in whatever we do and find our doors to those perfect moments of clarity. Once the door has been opened it becomes easier to open it again, and again, until finally you can go to that place at will. Work at it and be able to enter that room we all have inside us that lets things slow down, where we are the best version of ourselves.
On that note, I’m going to go ride my bike and see if I can open that door again.
All the best, D.