Monday, July 07, 2008

Things I've Learned from the Olympic Trials (and Wimbledon)

Somehow I've turned into a sports enthusiast. I'm not a fan of any one sport in particular, but I watch whatever is on with interest and excitement. How did this happen? I guess it doesn't really matter, but I'm pretty sure I can blame My Love, who knows just about everything there is to know about most sports out there. He can enjoy a football game or a round of golf just the same. I used to think this was crazy. Now I kind of understand it.

I spent much of my non-writing time this weekend watching the Olympic trials and Wimbledon. There's a lot to learn watching sports like swimming, track and field and tennis--and I'm not just talking about how to score a tennis match, which I think I'm finally getting the hang of. Life lessons abound when you watch athletes pursue their sports with passion. Here are a few of the things I took away from this weekend of competitions:

  • Be a good sport. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal fought long and hard for the Wimbledon championship, making the record for the longest tennis match in history. And when Nadal finally made that championship point and took the title, he actually thanked his competitor and said, "I am very happy for me, but sorry for him, because he deserved this title, too." Federer, while disappointed, took the loss with grace and style, praising Nadal for his excellent play.
  • Don't let an injury discourage you. Sprinter Tyson Gay was all set to make the Olympic team for the 100 and 200 meter races, but after qualifying for the Olympics in the 100 meter race, things changed. Within seconds of starting the 200 meter qualifier, Gay was on the ground writhing in pain. He apparently pulled a muscle and, because of the one-chance nature of the Olympic trials, the favorite sprinter and world champion lost his opportunity to compete for two Olympic metals. You wouldn't know it from listening to him, though. He was all smiles in an interview today and was looking forward to Beijing without any regrets or complaints.
  • Age means nothing. Going into the Olympic trials this weekend, 41-year-old Dara Torres knew that if she won her races, she would be the oldest American swimmer to ever compete on the Olympic swim team. But she didn't let that keep her from trying. Torres has been to the Olympics four times, and Beijing will be her fifth. Until this weekend, she hadn't competed since the 2000 Olympics and yet she won the 100-meter freestyle and set the American record for the 50-meter freestyle. How's that for acting your age?
The next time I start complaining about my competition, or making excuses for why I can't get something done or why I won't even try, I hope someone reminds me of these athletes.


34 Years said...

Hey! Thanks for checking out my blog :) I just spent some time checking yours out - all those veggies sound tasty. Especially the fresh herbs - oregano...yum.

So, it's cool that you're a writer, something I'd like to be. I intend to click on some of your links and see what's there, I've been looking around for some writing exercises to get off my *ss and actually start something that's not blogging!

Ami said...

34 Years - I replied to your comment over at your site, but I just wanted to say I'm working on some writing ideas/exercises to post over at Write Out Loud, but you can find plenty in my Writerly Places blogroll. Enjoy!

nejyerf said...

i watched an interview with venus. the win was bittersweer for her i think.

she said that usually when she wins she is happy and doesn't give a thought to how the other person, who had just lost must feel.

but because she won, her sister had to lose and she felt for her sister.

that is me paraphrasing what she said. you get the gist?

it was the sweetest, most sisterly thing she could have said, after beating her sister. and being a sister myself, i could understand it and really admired her all the more.

Ami said...

nejyerf - I've found the Williams sisters, as hard as they compete with one another, are always humbled by each others' talents as well. While I'm not always a big fan of either sister, I'm always impressed by their ability to like each other at then end of the day (or match). I'm not so sure I could do the same.

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