Tennis as a metaphor for life-slash-work

Facundo Bagnis: In it for the long haul
Facundo Bagnis at Roland-Garros: In it for the long haul

Clap your hands if, like me, you’re crazy-psyched that A) the French Open 2014 is on, and B) it’s finally semi-warm enough up north to pop outside and whack a tennis ball yourself without freezing your flirty skirted fanny off.

Soon, because of our imminent move to FLA, I’ll be able to play on a much more regular basis, which I’m utterly thrilled about.¬†Pretty much year-round, I’m guessing.

But the primo TV tennis viewing is kinda crunched into about four jam-packed months. Yes, there’s the Australian Open in January, but that comes on the heels of Xmas and New Year’s and feels – at least for us armchair players – like a bit of a warmup for the real action: Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Over Memo Day Weekend…

Sidebar: We stayed at really lovely place by the way – Marriott Fairway Villas. It’s Jersey Shore-adjacent, but off in the woods and just peaceful and gorge. Highly recommend it for family types. Bring your golf clubs, because there’s a driving range on property. And don’t forget to pack your brain, too, because they hold a trivia contest at the pool that’s insanely, wickedly hard…

Now back to tennis, and how it’s a metaphor for life-slash-work:

On Sunday afternoon, before we scooted off for dinner, I caught a little bit of the epic 1st round match between Facundo Bagnis and Julien Benneteau. Facundo, from Argentina, had never played Roland Garros before. But after 4 hours and 27 minutes – 4 hours and 27 minutes!- he finally took down Benneteau, Mr. Frenchy French, whom so many were rooting for.

After a happy on-court, post-win collapse (see cute pic above), Facundo slunk to the side, pulled his shirt over his face and cried for a really long time. It was so touching that I quickly got teary myself.

I’d never even heard of this Facundo guy – I’m totally besotted with Rafa and rarely even take note of the younger whippersnappers nipping at his heels – but there’s no way you couldn’t be impressed by the fact that he stuck it out for so long – 4 hours and 27 minutes! – to ultimately win his very first match at the French Open.

I need to beg, borrow and steal some of that championship spirit, that complete and utter stick-to-it-ive-ness that pro tennis players tap to make it through really tough matches like Facundo v Benneteau.

I’ve noticed that at the tail end of really, really hard projects – like a few that I’m embroiled in now (seriously, I’ve been working my — off) – I just get so miserable and borderline despondent.

Not to mention totally awful to everyone around me. Kinda like Don Draper. What did he say to Peggy the other night when she asked him how he handled getting creatively stuck? Wait, I’ll look it up…

Here it is:

“Well, whenever I’m really confused about an idea, first I abuse the people whose help I need, then I take a nap.”

As unimpeachably hot as Don Draper is, in the overall scheme of things, I’d rather be the scrappy upstart tennis player with the championship spirit than the churlish seasoned professional.

I’d rather just get through tough projects with grace.

Yes, that’s it: Grace under pressure. Like that scrappy upstart tennis player guy. He’s a winner, in more ways than one.