Monday Musings…. Who Would Have Thought?

The Toronto Raptors won their first NBA title in franchise history, and last week, 19-year-old tennis phenom, Bianca Andreescu, won the U.S. Open! They’re parallel stories that will go down in the annals of history in the same category as the Biblical account of David and Goliath!

In her first interview following her smashing defeat of superstar Sereena Williams, Bianca talked about being 16 years old and writing herself a pretend cheque for winning the U.S. Open. In her words: “I’ve been dreaming of this for a long time.”

But we all know that dreams don’t often materialize into the greatness we desire. So how does someone go from being ranked 152 at the beginning of the year to finishing on top of the leaderboard? It’s got to be more than dreaming and writing a bogus banknote, right?

Well, for starters, we are a doubting generation, plain and simple. When things seem impossible, our natural impulse seems to be to quit, change direction, or even vocation. We prefer to settle, or second guess, and ultimately surrender when the obstacles in front of us appear beyond our capacity to cope.

But maybe that’s another part of the problem – that word ‘cope’. It insinuates that there is ‘only so much we can do’. Our head space then says; ‘that’s all I can do’, and we settle back and breathe, patting ourselves on the back for achieving only what we could safely achieve. But don’t you want more? The Raptors wanted more. Bianca, clearly wanted more.

Our culture of coping tells us that the goal in life is to maintain a level of contentment. But ask anyone who has ever been an underdog and then won a battle. Ask them, what motivated them to win. It had nothing to do with coping or contentment – it was all about chasing the challenge –going full force into mission impossible. Because just like the Israelite David, that’s what they believe they were called to do.

And into the arena they went. Bianca wasn’t playing on home turf. Neither were the Raptors in their final game. Think about it. They were playing to a crowd comprised of fans, who just like the Philistines were taunting and jeering to throw them off their game. But it didn’t work. Nothing could derail their confidence to win.

So how could these Canadians, and in particular, Bianca tune that out and take the victory? Listening to interviews Bianca’s done, it’s obvious. First of all, she knew she was capable of doing more than others expected of her. Second, she trained relentlessly to win.

There are people who wake up expecting to be brilliant, or athletic, or super sociable. But it just doesn’t happen like that. If you have a dream, or a goal, you have to consider what it takes FROM YOU to make it happen. The punctuation was on purpose! What are you willing to do to push yourself to the next level? Bianca didn’t just visualize the win, she out-practiced and out-played her opponents.

And so, recent articles, and even our Prime Minster, have called Bianca ‘inspiring’. The apparent evidence for that is the number of young people now signing up for tennis lessons. But how long will they stick with the sport? Do they understand that there are no short cuts to becoming sensational? Will they lose interest when they realize they have to prioritize and practice?

What Bianca is actually inspiring all Canadians to do is this: to want to be at the top of your game more than anyone else; and when you struggle or think it's hopeless, don’t give up, give it your all, securing small victories step by step until you're ready to face that Giant and watch him fall!

So, slaying the Goliath’s in this life is not a fantasy you play out in your mind only. It’s about preparation and practice and persevering to get to a level that you thought would be impossible. And someday, someone may say of you when you conquer your competition: “Who would have thought?” 😊

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