It’s a holiday and I’m watching the US Open. I’d planned to just tune in for a bit and then was taken in by Serena. The poise, the power the panache. Then caught a bit of the Djokovic/Dolgopolov match, or I should say it caught me, as they played the tiebreaker for the first set and it’s 12-12 as I write. For those of you that don’t follow tennis, that’s a lot of points for a tiebreaker. Meaning, they’re both going at it hard…very, very hard. It’s electric, as one of the commentators said.
Which made me wonder. Why do we watch? Why is it so engaging to see these stars, and sometimes not-yet stars, duke it out? Is it, as Updike said of Ted Williams:
For me, Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.
Which reminds me of a bit of research I’ve just been reading about building up your self-control “muscle.” It’s up to 15-14 now. They’re just going strong. Yes, the research, it’s about the idea that when we hang out with successful people, we’re likely to be more successful ourselves. And Djokovic, the number one player in the world right now, won it 16-14. But it’s still just the first set mind you. Yeah, the research suggests that whether we’re exercising, dieting or trying to be more creative, hanging out with people who do that thing well is likely to help us in our efforts.
And that’s why I love reading Updike (it’s my version of hanging out with Updike), his eloquence being just that difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill. Which is what I’m aspiring to.
The takeaway? Do whatever it takes to surround yourself with people doing the thing you aspire to. Whether they’re friends, workout partners, colleagues or those folks we love to watch on tv kicking, throwing, hitting and doing whatever else can be done with a round object. When I sat down in front of the tv I was feeling a bit sluggish, and now, I’m totally ready to brush up on my serve and get out on the court.