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Tennis and the meaning of life

Good teamwork means cooperating and collaborating.

Good teamwork means cooperating and collaborating.

Growing up I remember every weekend watching ABC’s “The Wide World of Sports.” It was 1961 when Wimbledon was broadcast for the first time. I decided then tennis would be my sport. I’ve played since high school and have been playing competitive team tennis for the last 20-plus years. About a year ago I was given a book called “Tennis and the Meaning of Life.” It’s a literary anthology of the game, spanning many years, including short stories and poetry from the likes of Somerset Maugham and E.B. White. It got me thinking about what tennis has meant to me.

I’ve learned many valuable life lessons from my sport. Good teamwork means cooperating and collaborating. Much of this comes with practice and through working with like-minded partners and teammates. Socializing off the court helps make teamwork even more enjoyable, and this translates nicely into the real world. At AB&C collaborative problem solving is key to what we do. When we get to have fun at the same time, that’s a big bonus, and we’re encouraged to do that here.

As I’ve gotten better at what I do, my confidence has grown both on and off the court. I’ve learned that practice and hard work can and does pay off over time. And there are rewards. In 2004 my women’s amateur-league tennis team made it all the way to the nationals in Palm Springs. We competed with four other teams for the championship title. While we didn’t win, we were so proud of having made it that far.

We worked hard and enjoyed every minute of it. One of the biggest lessons I learned was the importance of being accountable. When I just miss that shot down the line, that’s on me. I have to own that. But I learn from my mistakes.

It wasn’t until I read that book that I realized how much I have learned about life from the great game of tennis. It’s more than “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” It’s valuable lessons I can apply every day — and so can you.

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