I didn't plan to do a second post today, but it's Wednesday afternoon, and I'm sitting here watching a tennis match at Wimbledon, a match the likes of which no one in the history of tennis has ever seen.
For those of you who don't watch tennis, a men's match in a major championship consists of five sets. To win a set, a player needs to win 6 games . . . but there is a catch. In tennis, you have to win by a two-game margin, so if the score is 6 to 5 games, the players play another game to see if one can push it to 7 to 5. If not, if it goes to 6-6, they will play a tiebreaker, and the final set will be 7 to 6. With one important exception. Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in tennis, does not allow a tie break in the fifth set of a match. They play on and on until one gets a two-game advantage.
Ok, background over. I'm watching a match between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in which the score is 59 to 59. It has lasted nearly 10 hours, over the course of two days. They've missed a couple of meals. They just took their first bathroom break, seven hours after starting today's play. As exhausted as these two men are, Mahut just made an incredible dive to try to make a shot. Oh, and the nice thing about this particular match? They are doing it with grace, mutual respect, and good sportsmanship.
To put this in perspective, a fairly close five-set match usually has about 50 to 60 games. These two have played 163 games, so they've played the equivalent of three matches.
Ok, they just suspended the match for yet another night. Who knows how these two men will be able to get out of bed to come back and play tomorrow. But somehow, I suppose they will.
Accomplishments like this are why I love watching sports. As corny as it sounds, performances like this inspire me. Now when I feel weary of juggling two jobs and art classes and my own creative writing, I can think about the incredible stamina and endurance displayed by these two athletes and push myself to give a little more effort to achieving my own personal goals.