Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vive la France!

Tears and vodka.

Strange combination one would think.

What is it about supporting someome else? Someone who you've never spoken to, someone with whom you have no relationship with....
And yet, we do so- despite all the cribbing about others' money making. We do so because we want to see someone succeed.

And when they achieve something historic, the tears come.

7th June 2009 will be the day tennis changed. The day when one man against all odds pushed himself to the limit to etch his name in tennis history on the treacherous clay of Roland Garros.
It was also the day when sitting thousands of miles away from Paris, a 23 year old for perhaps the first time came of age.

Came of age in realizing that thats what life was about- picking oneself up from dust and ashes and climbing once again to glory.
There are few moments in life when time stands still- few moments when one understands what life really is.

And so when, on the 7th of June 2009, I watched Robin Soderling's ball land in the net and Roger Federer fall to the ground in joy, life took on a new meaning.
And no, its not an exaggeration.
Here was a man, hailed by his peers and the world as perhaps the best ever- a man who had endured 3 defeats on the same stage to the same rival, still hungry for more. It was this- an undying thirst for excellence and an ability to withstand great pressure that differentiated a man from the boys.

For none of us can quite imagine what it is to feel the pressure of the world- the pressure of history, the pressure of destiny- to be the greatest ever. It is something most of us will never know. But to pick oneself up from the ashes and rise again shows remarkable resilience and fortitude.

So yes, this match changed me- for the better. The dawning of a realization that it was not the past that mattered- the future is where we should look to....

Its rare to have true role models but thats what makes sport so astonishing- one on one combat. And a true role model is one who never ever gives up, who goes on trying until he succeeds...

Tears and vodka.

For that was what I will one day tell my kids I had when history was made.....

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