Community in Conversation ANdrew manning

2016-07-06 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Andrew Manning

PHOTO: supplied Andrew Manning

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TTHE world is changing around us. Establishment is being broken down and individualism is on the rise. It seems that we are facing bigger problems, and living in the global village puts everybody’s problems in our living room. It is easy to feel that our challenges are bigger than us and that we are on our own.

I’ve been watching Wimbledon and some interesting lessons can be learnt. Firstly, there may be one player on the court, but there is a team that put the player there. Every tennis player has a coach to develop the technical skills, another to strengthen the mind, a physiotherapist to get muscles working right and a business administrator to manage the touring and the finances.

On the court, it’s all about the player, but a team put that player in the game. In your life there is a team that does all sorts of things in the background, and they are there for you, even if they are not “on the court”.

Secondly, we have to put theory into practice. Life is about what you’ve done with what you’ve learnt, practiced and planned. Your attitude, your mindset, your ability to control your process is what it’s all about.

In the second round of Wimbledon, you’ve earned your place in the tournament, but may suddenly find yourself (ranked 100 and something) facing the favourite. You know you have no chance of winning, but you have to play like a winner from the first ball.

You have to play each point as if it is the only one, and you’ll get to walk away saying, “I took a point, a game, maybe even a set off the best player in the world.” This is your biggest game, and it doesn’t matter that its Wimbledon round two, it just matters that you get to play the champion of Wimbledon at Wimbledon, one on one.

Tennis teaches us to live in the present. Are you living in the present, or does the future of uncertainty, get the better of you. I saw a player come back from two sets down and win the game. Never give up, play every point, the task at hand is the one that counts.

I should imagine the only way to succeed is to be less concerned with who is on the other side of the net, and just hit whatever comes to you, as best as you can. In life we face many challenges that are bigger than we think we can handle, but if we play them one stroke at a time, our challenges become our teachers.

In life it matters less what you are up against, than the attitude with which you approach the game. You have to play your game no matter who the opponent is. You also have to remember that whether you are seeded 150 or first, you both have the same right to be on the court.

You’re in the tournament and you get to play whether you’re the favourite or the underdog. You move up the status ladder playing one stroke at a time, learning from your defeats and from your wins. We’ve seen our fair share of upsets over the years at Wimbledon, the unexpected winners. I hope to see a few more unexpected winners in our communities making a difference for all of us.

Your decisions will win or lose the point, but your resilience and focus, your ability to go the distance will win the game.

The champion of Wimbledon was once an unknown player, but that didn’t stop him or her, and look where he or she is now. I see people every day just going out to play each point - point by point - not dwelling on the past nor confused by the future. The world is full of opportunity, will you take it? Will you take a risk? Will you play every ball that life hits at you? Let’s play tennis: Community is built by each player putting their all into everything we do, and going the distance no matter how intimidating life’s challenges are.

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