Monday, July 02, 2012

losers and winners

There are many reasons to love July. As a teacher, July means a full month to focus on my family and recharge my own batteries. It is freedom to think about what I want to change in my classroom next year without having to implement said changes tomorrow. It means soaking up hot, lazy days, Frederick style, and store away for those cold winter days that are coming.

But July also means the best sports season of the year. As I type, I'm switching between Wimbledon and the Tour de France. Later today we'll watch more Olympic trials. Yesterday we watched the European Cup final match. We don't plan our lives around television shows... except during the Fortnight.

There's been heavy chatter by the swimming announcers about how Michael Phelps hates to lose. He loves to win, but he hates to lose. Yea, yea, whatever... I hear it as the filler it's meant to be between heats, trying to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. But watching Federer struggle in the first set of the Round of 16, that concept of hating to lose resonated. Federer took the first medical time out I think I've seen him take (which the announcers repeated multiple times, just to be sure we knew what a big deal that was). His opponent-- a name I don't know off the top of my head-- recognized his weakness, and seemed to be capitalizing on it. Federer was down 5-6 in the first set. Ok, I thought, here we go...

If that had been me out there, Malisse would have beat me. Which is why it would never have been me out there-- because I don't hate to lose so desperately that I'll do whatever it takes to win. When I "ran" cross country in high school (quotes necessary because I wasn't running as much as walking with a hop in between steps. 10 minute miles are not that impressive.) I let people pass me, if they cared to. I could hear them coming up behind me, and if someone was behind me, they were probably in last place. I could hear them thinking "I'm not going to finish DFL today..." and I really just didn't care. My job was to finish, not to finish high in the standings.

But Federer is clearly not me, and he obviously hates losing. He won the game, and then the tiebreaker. He's up 1 set to nil in a rain delay (and that's a whole other announcer rant-- why go into a delay when you can close the roof over Centre Court?) and I have to believe he will win this game, whatever it does to his body. Because he hates to lose. Aha, young grasshopper... it is all starting to make sense now.

So I'll stay here on the couch, watching all these elite athletes abuse their bodies to feed their need to be the best. Not their best, as with I am content, but THE best. And be thankful that they think that way, because it's so fun to watch on these hot July days...

1 comment: said...

Great post. I like these days in July too. This year the Olympics will our Tour because all the riders we liked were doping (& out) or not racing because of the Olympics. Regardless, I too, hold onto these nice days to make it through January, February and most Marches (& sometimes April).