Bam! The ball had hit me right in the forehead. Dazed I tried to determine where it came from, but before I could find an answer, another one hit me… and another.
“You know that this is going to keep on happening until you keep your eye on the ball!” I heard my trainer’s voice from across the court.
“This is not fair!” I yelled back at him. “You are supposed to teach me how to play tennis, not to assault me with balls!”
Bam! “Stop that!” I made my annoyance clear.
Bam! Angrily I threw my racket on the ground. “That’s it! I am out of here!” With determined strides, I made my way towards the small side gate of the court, only to find myself under attack by more balls. I tried to cover my head with my arms, but the balls kept on pummelling me all over.
“Stop right there, young lady,” my trainer instructed me. I fell onto my knees and rolled myself into a tiny bundle, trying to avert any further attack.
The trainer flopped down on the ground next to me. With a gentle finger, he touched the red welt on my forehead. “Ouch, that must have hurt,” he commented. I mumbled a reply.
“Well, I reckon it could have been worse,” he continued. Perplexed I squinted at him. “You could have been at Wimbledon or the French Open, not only getting your head pelted with balls, but your name and reputation shamed.”
Exasperated, I clicked my tongue at him. “But then on the other hand, if you did ever manage to get to one of those tournaments, you would have learned to keep…your…eye…on…the…ball!” He reiterated his words by poking me in the shoulder with his forefinger. I was still simmering, but he made his point. “Are you ready to try this again?” He extended a hand to me and helped me to my feet.
For the next hour, I dodged balls as if my life depended on it. So did I, for the next three training sessions. My footwork increased remarkably and my focus became razor sharp. Unfortunately, footwork and a keen eye alone do not make a good tennis player. My mediocre skills ensured hours of pleasurable social tennis, but never anything more than that.
I was however, left with a valuable life lesson. In all things, keep your eye on the ball.
In our daily life’s we can easily become distracted by events and other people, that we loose sight of what is truly important and of value. Looking to the right or the left to compare ourselves to others, we might loose sight of who we are. Straining to look over the fence to see what the neighbours are up to, we can become discontent with what we have and loose the joy of living life in our own little kingdom.
In pursuing your life’s path and purpose, the ability to stay focused is a vital necessity. To remain true to your course and the path chosen, in the face of obstacles and overwhelming challenges, requires a high degree of commitment and tenacity. If there was one thing that I have learned on that tennis court, it was tenacity and perseverance.
As the years went pass, I had found myself in various situations where longsuffering, tenacity and perseverance were required from me. With every event, I grew in ability to stay strong and focussed and to prevent myself from being hit in the head. From time to time, one would still slip pass me and the unpleasant consequences would serve to remind me, to keep my eye on the ball.