I got up (ridiculously) early this morning to watch Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
It was, of course, just a tennis match between two already (ridiculously) wealthy and already successful-beyond-belief athletes. The more I watched, though, the more I noticed parallels with life.
It was always going to be a long haul. Two of the greatest battling it out was never going to slip by. Indeed, after two hours only one and a half sets had been completed. The players were prepared – ready physically and mentally for the monumental task ahead. Each held respect for their opponent and recognised that only their best tennis would bring success. They brought their utmost to every point, although not one of them was given away easily.
The game had subtle shiftings of momentum – some periods were smoother than others, some required digging deep. Sometimes each dictated the play, sometimes each was made to sprint. Emotions moved between agonising frustration and fist-pumping joy.
They ground it out, point by point. They were unfailingly patient. They made errors – some unforced that taught them a better way for next time. They each made remarkable shots. There was that inevitable progress towards an endpoint but never was the outcome a given. I watched in edge-of-seat rapture.
It was a great game but it was, indeed, just a game. Most people didn’t see it. Most people didn’t care. Nadal won – not that it really matters. But it was an exhibition, not just of the highest quality tennis but of a little slice of life.