I recently played a match in my USTA men’s league that brought the two words in the post title to mind. My partner last Thursday is a local high school coach who I’ve teamed with only once before and isn’t really known as a doubles player. Our opponents were two teaching pros from a local club. They were probably the best team I have played against this season but that is not an important part of the story.
My partner and I won the first set (single break) but got down a break quickly in the 2nd (my serve). Trailing the entire set, when we were down 4-1 my partner looks at me and says, “Doesn’t matter, they’re not having as much fun as we are.” And how true that was. Our opponents were very nice guys and great sports (and I’m looking forward to playing them again), but they didn’t look happy to be on the court while we were laughing and joking with each other (and occasionally the crowd). This by no means meant we were not taking the match seriously or didn’t care if we won or lost (there was a playoff berth riding on the match). We just had fun and enjoyed competing. It wasn’t that we were playing perfect or even pretty tennis at times, it was just that we were having fun doing something we loved.
I just wanted to share this experience because you do play better (or work better) when you’re doing something that is fun or that you’ve convinced yourself is fun (everybody remembers making games out of chores as kids). It’s just that we too often get wrapped up in being overly serious and lose sight of the fact that we are enjoying what we do.
By the way we won the match 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8) to clinch first place in our division.
"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play. It’s as simple as that. God, I love the opportunity."
- Mike Singletary