Friday, January 28, 2011

The Philosophy of Roller Coaster riding with Nadal

The highs and lows, they make the ride worthwile.

I like surprises, the plotted twists in a drama series and anything out of the ordinary that makes me wonder or doubt.  When everything is always calm, predictable and constant it leaves me bored and cold.

Perfection is what I've always aim for but that doesn't mean I don't push myself way too hard. I'm not afraid to crash and burn as long as I know that what I am doing is life changing, thus what is the point for setting goals if it's too achievable?

Reaching from point A to B to start with is fine but afterwards one would feel that reaching point C from B has become mediocre because it has been done before. Probably aiming to reach point G would take a grueling effort, but its worth the shot even if you don't reach that far because along the way you learn from mistakes and become tougher to dwell in difficult situations. 

For me, becoming the best in anything means you have to take risks. It's always inevitable to fail in life because without it you will never appreciate the sweetness that victory brings.

Roller coaster rides are designed to have high and low points so that the adrenalin rush remains pounding all the way through the ride.

If the ride goes in a linear fashion and way too close on the ground- where you feel safe and comfortable, there's no sense in riding it- better yet, sleep and conquer your fears while dreaming, it would be more exciting and be a better learning experience. 

Nadal, wiping the tears away on the side court.
This week so far was a hell of a roller coaster ride in the perspective of my favourite Rafael Nadal.  Of all contenders in the Australian Open he's got the biggest motivation to win the title. 4th Grand Slam in row would put him in Tennis history along with Rod Laver.

Losing a match with an injury that was only acquired in just the early minutes first set is totally devastating.  The hamstring injury was not the sole reason why he lost in three straight sets.  David Ferrer despite being no. 7 was rock solid and amazing that even if Rafa (being the no.1 player) was healthy,  it would have been a very gritty close fight. 

With that loss, I cannot help but feel sad as if the world has been torn into pieces and thrown in the fire. I was mourning, trying to fathom how can I lift my spirits then I thought carefully about what Rafa said after the match: 
"Last year I had a fantastic year. This year the year just start. Last year in the beginning I had problems, too, and finally was the best season of my career. I think is almost impossible to repeat that. But remain a lot, and remain a lot to have hopefully really good moments, and at the same time, too, really negative moments."

"So this is one of bad ones, one of negative moments. That’s part of the sport. I think I am very, very lucky sportsman about what happened in my career. And I have to accept the fantastic moments that I had during a lot of years with the same calm that when I have problems. And if I am ready to accept both things with I think let’s say everything the same, I going to be able to come back and play my best tennis another time."  

 Rafa remains humble in accepting his defeat and says it is just part of any sports career. He remains even grateful for what he has achieved so far and did not see this defeat as the end of his dream. For last year, he had faced a similar problem as early as January but afer that everything went boom- boom- boom: 3 grand slams in a row. 

He knows that the physical, emotional and mental conditions are never going to be perfect for anyone to win all the time-  just the same that he knows how to keep his foot on the ground. 

After every successful battle, his hard work never stops from there. For him life goes on, being on top is continuous work, not just a result of overnight success. 

His staying power will be there for a long time because accepts everything, good or bad, just the same- that his accomplishments never gets stuck in his head where others would have been so over confident; and that this deafeated moment will not hinder him from rising up again where others would have chosen to quit or sulk all the time.  

This is why I love Rafael Nadal. 

On the court he is fierce, bold and agressive. He always play to win, make shots that are seemingly impossible and pound the ball with enormous strength.

Its like watching a matador run for his life in a bull fight. Passion and excitement is the flavour he brings on the court, that even a non tennis fan like me converted got to the tennis bandwagon last year.

There's nothing wrong in playing with so much gusto, although I must say, with the way he plays I'm also worried that he will attract injuries along the way. Not all bodies, as we all know, are perfectly designed to suit agressive play. Good thing he keeps coping with the one he has.

He's taking accountability and not using it as a primary excuse for his losses.  I like that he is stubborn- willing to move in top speed mentally, even if at times his body does not follow through. 

He risks with everything he's got not withstanding the toll on his body. But unlike ordinary folks, he's not afraid to play even if the chances of losing is close to 90% and  that's the courage I've seen in his match vs. Ferrer. He didn't quit even if he knows he will lose from the time his thigh muscle was injured.

Yeah, he takes us on roller coaster rides but beneath that strong persona lies a calm and humble soul with a wisdom that speaks volumes, that even his less than perfect English is enough to make his point across. 

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