I had the pleasure of watching the French Open (live on NBC no less) yesterday afternoon. Many commentators and tennis greats were calling it the best tennis match ever, calling it a classic in real time as it was being played out live. Impossible shots, long rallies. It was amazing, almost miraculous tennis. Nadal is the clay court king (105 out of 107 victories or some such), but Djokovic fought back from a 5-0 loss in the first set to win in 5 closely contested sets. It’s well worth watching some of the highlights online.
I played in our church tennis tourney a couple of weekends ago and was by far the oldest guy there, but probably one of the most experienced. All of the other men were in their 30s and 40s and very athletic. Only one other guy there seemed to have formal tennis training and a broad range of skills (my young pastor friend from Washington state), but the others made up for their lack of tennis experience with their shear physical prowess. They were all exceptional athletes who hit the ball twice as hard as I did and tracked every shot down tirelessly in the 90 degree heat. The net result (pun intended) was that they physically exhausted me, and this was doubles on clay. I struggled to maintain a respectable showing. The great advantage of youth…
The bottom line of the two above anecdotes is that I feel psychologically my age now (70 years, gasp!). I’m fortunate to have a 60-80 year old crowd to regularly play tennis with in the early and cooler morning hours. Youth is in my rear view mirror, and that realization is a bit unsettling and depressing. But I do feel blessed in general with my health, as “iffy” as it may be in several areas. One of our players, a doctor, a “snowbird” who was on his way to his Maine house for the summer, quietly announced yesterday morning that he and his wife cancelled their plans when they discovered last week that she had advanced lymphoma. Life can change (and potentially end) in a moment. Makes me think of our Bible study of Ecclesiastes and the fleeting nature of life (it is but a vapor, dust in the wind), and that what is truly important and eternal in life is when one lives beyond the mere physical. Our physical life “under the sun” is short and meaningless without our spiritual and eternal connection to God through Christ. All that truly endures is what is done to the glory of God.
The book of Ecclesiastes, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 11:36. Matthew 5:16