Perseverance

I love tennis. I fell in love with it by total accident,  during a sopping, rain-drenched fourth-of-July weekend  at the shore. The streets flooded so badly, the water was thigh-high on my five-foot frame. We were stuck indoors at a bed-and-breakfast with no cable and only Wimbledon to watch on NBC.

My friend’s soon to be husband had played on the satellite pro circuit, so she knew the game and explained it to me. (Having Stefan Edberg to watch didn’t hurt, nor did David Wheaton lack in the  ‘hot’ department of that semi-final.) Years later, she likes it–I get obsessed during the Grand Slams and have been known to suffer some serious sleep deprivation during the US and recently, the Australian Opens. I’m up to guessing my favorite players’ zodiac signs and nailed Nadal as a Gemini and Federer as a Leo 🙂 I can see the Aquarian in Venus, but Serena–a Libra?

Of course, I was home for ‘Breakfast at Wimbledon’ this past Sunday–drove home from PA right after the BBQ at my cottage community on Saturday to insure I’d be in front of my TV in time for that first serve. Andy Roddick played the no-words-left-to-describe-the-phenom Roger Federer, who, as John McEnroe so aptly put it, “makes the rest of …[the undisputed greatest players of the Open era]…look average.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Roger’s artistry in motion, but I rooted for Roddick. I had to. I don’t even count Andy among my favorite players, but in the past few tournaments I’ve seen a young guy who has transformed himself into a formidable force on that court. And I’ve watched him persevere right into his first five-set match against the ‘greatest player of all time’ and hold his own up to that last–and only–devastating break of serve that cost him the match. Yes, losing that second set tiebreaker didn’t help, but in the past, Andy might have given up and ‘gone away’ as tennis commentators tend to say. But he didn’t. He got right back up and held on for three more sets, only to have what could have been the most meaningful win of his life become his most significant tennis  loss, I’m sure.

Yet, if Andy wants to claim another Grand Slam title, he needs to persevere. He needs to take a hard, honest look at his match–go over what worked and be willing to change what didn’t. And he’s got to dig the deepest he ever has if he plans on walking onto tennis’ biggest stage again, let go of the past, and perservere another three, four, most likely five sets.

As writers, teachers, parents, people–don’t we need to do the same?

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9 thoughts on “Perseverance

  1. Hi Joanna – agree completely – perseverence is key to being an author. Have you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? He says scientific evidence shows 10,000 tries at something makes one a master – writing is no different. I love the notion that any of us can be best sellers if we keep writing!
    Long Run Home, due out 09/18/09 by The Wild Rose Press

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  2. Great post. It can be tough to do, but we have to persevere. If we want to make it in this tough publishing world, we don’t have a choice.

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  3. Joanna, there certainly is something to be said for perseverance. It’s a virtue that an author cannot do without.

    Great post, and though I’m not a tennis buff, I appreciated the story about Andy Roddick. It slams home the idea of perservere.

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  4. Jo,
    Great Match and Great Advice. You’re timing is spot on – keeping my screaming monkey’s at bay 🙂
    Roddick played his heart out and we write our hearts out.

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  5. Perseverence and passion go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. Yes, as writer, teacher, mother, etc. we need to explore who we are and what makes us tick. I don’t think you can have perseverence without passion. Nice post, Joanna.

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  6. Andy played super but Roger is…Roger Federer, the one and only. He’s my hero, but I almost cried for Andy. Andy’s time will come because he will not give up. Same with writers. Never give up, but always improve.

    Great post. BTW my hubby is a very good tennis player who’d played for years and still does three to four times a week. I suck at tennis. tried several times but I write romances. Good ones I like to believe, sweet and spicy Babies in the Bargain, it came out at TWRP.

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  7. Great post, Joanna. Getting back up again is the strongest thing people can do…. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Thanks so much to all of you who stopped by–y’all made me feel really good about some thoughts that sat so strongly with me, I had to get them out–kind of like that next book that may not have a home 😉

    Your support and feedback are priceless,
    Joanna

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  9. I watched the match and was on the edge of my seat most of the 5th set. I tried to explain to my girls why I was tearful and having stomach pains at it conclusion. I was truly heartbroken for Andy. Taking nothing away from Federer, I tried to tell the girls about the amount of practice, patience, sacrifice, motivation, and of course perserverance Andy had in order to get to the finals and to get to 5 sets and a record breaking 70 odd games, and although he didn’t win, he was not a loser in anyone’s eyes. The amount of heart and perservance he displayed is an inspiration to everyone for anything they find difficult but worthwhile in their lives. I hope as we all move through our daily sets we remain as focused and as determined as Mr Roddick. And in the end, regardless of the outcome, as gracious as he remained.

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