Spirit of the Game

The lines are drawn
The rules are set
The racquets in hand
The balls are in play

The points are played out
Within the confines of the court
And the strategies are employed
To find the weak the spot of the opponent
And to try to find a way
To have your strengths dictate play

And points turn into games
Individual battles for points
Which turn into fights for games
And for every ball you chase down
Your opponent undoubtedly finds a way
To bring it back to a place
That puts him in the position
To find that weakness
So that he can strike you down
And bury that ball into the corner
And dishearten your spirit

One point at a time
One game at a time
The battle ensues
The the game of skill takes place
But under each and every stroke
Is a battle of wills
A battle of the heart
That takes place just the same

And theses battles for points
Turn into battles for games
And each game that is won
Puts you closer to a set
A set of game that must be won
In order that the opponents will be broken

There is no room for weakness here
There is no room for mistakes
Each point that is fought
Must be a battle for life itself
And in the opponents eyes
Fear must be seen
In order that he be broken
Spirit and will be cracked
Such that these games turn into sets
And these sets turn into matches
And the opponent can be vanquished
And the next opponent be met
With the same intensity
The same tenacity

Each and every point
Each and every game
Each and every set
Must be played as if it is your last
And in so doing
The true spirit of competition
With the utmost respect for your opponent
With the utmost respect for the game
Can be found and held onto
With a firm and tenacious grip

And if these very simple truths
Are held onto in every moment
One can find a peace and a harmony
In this battle of wills
And one might come to realize
That what is being fought for
Is not victory necessarily
But a gratitude in the ability to play
At the highest of levels
With the deepest concentration
And the gravest of respect

For a game with a ball
Between a give set of lines
With a basic set of rules
That have been established over the centuries
To pit one man again another
in a game of skill and precision
But more importantly in a test of wills
In a test of the heart

And the deepest and strongest
Sense of competitive spirit and will
Is found not in the end game
Not in the goal to win
But in the beauty of the competition itself
In the dance of two souls
As they parry and pounce
With their swords of play
Against the yellow fuzzy balls
That are the weapons of warfare
In this game of tennis

And perhaps one day
After years of practice and training
Preparation for matches and tournaments
One can find a peace and respect
For the game itself
And the beauty of the perfectly struck ball
The perfectly constructed point
Or the pure joy and bliss
Of architecting point by point
Game by game
The demise of your opponent
As his weaknesses are exploited
Your strengths are exhibited
And the will of the competitor
Is worn down to its thinnest point
And you have him broken
And the match is yours

But no doubt every opponent
Will be as prepared as you
And will be willing to go the distance
To run through walls
To push his body to the limit
To put his strengths against your weaknesses
And break your will
So that the games can be his
And the match can be taken from you
And so that he can move on
And put you in the abyss of loss
In the misery of defeat
As you watch your competitor move on
And you go home to lick your wounds

But this very game of wills
This exchange of ball after ball
On this court with its lines and rules
With the gamesmanship and the cheating
And the intimidation and hardship
That your opponent will no doubt instill
Is no less that the game of life
Where each point must be life or death
And that in the loss of a point
The lesson can be learnt
And the mind can move on
Accepting that the lost point is in the past
And all you have
Is the next point to play
And all you can do
Is the best that you can
To put your best effort into every shot
Every ounce of energy in that body of yours
Into each and every shot
From the moment the match starts
Until the moment the match ends

And in this effort
The glory of life can be found
As the bliss of the zone
Is entered into seamlessly and effortlessly
For as the focus and the rhythm
Is found in your game
In the small rituals that we practice
Between points and games
And the peace and rest is garnered
When you change sides and take a breath

This is the game life that is played
It is no other than the microcosm
Of this grand play that we have been cast in
And all once can do
All one can hope for
Is that we play with dignity and respect
Not only for the game itself
But for the opponent who stands against us
And for the will and the spirit inside us
Whose spark comes form no other
Than the source of it all

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