Scotland has a champion!
Before anyone gives me into trouble for calling Andy Murray Scottish, rather than British, let me just say that he is Scottish, which is why I said Scotland has a champion, but Scotland is part of the UK (whether that will be the case in years to come remains to be seen) so he also represents Britain. But I am Scottish (proudly so) so proudly cheer on a fellow Scot. It doesn’t make me nationalistic in a bad way, just makes me pleased for my country.
Back on track…Andy Murray wins his first Grand Slam title, the US Open!
Yes, I stayed up, like many in the UK, into the wee small hours, somewhere between 2 and 3am here, to watch Andy put us all through the emotional mill.
I confess, for awhile I thought it was going to be the usual Scottish story, we are infamous for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, glorious in failure, always proud of our huff and puff and ending up proud but defeated. Well, if you follow the Scotland football (soccer) team then you’ll know what I mean.
After being two sets up it looked like Murray was headed for his first major Grand Slam title, then Djokovic (Okay so I googled the spelling) mounted a comeback and took the next two sets. At that stage you’d have to say Djokovic (didn’t google it this time) was favourite. Then Murray found reserves of strength from somewhere and ploughed his way to victory, raising a nations spirits in the process. Okay, our social, economic, spiritual, political, poverty, health etc problems haven’t been solved, but for awhile we can at least be proud that this young man from Dunblane now proudly takes his place among the tennis elite.
I was struck by something Murray said afterwards in an interview. He said of the match “They were incredibly tricky conditions…Novak is so strong, he fights until the end of every match and I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.”
Its that bit, “…I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.” that made me think. I have thought those very same words on so many occasions in my life. I have stood at the end of a road, or pathway, or process and wondered how on earth I got to the finish line? I have thought of the obstacles, dilemmas, physical wariness, emotional draining…and been baffled at why I wasn’t lying down somewhere defeated, down and out. Yet there I was, still standing, maybe exhausted, maybe bruised, maybe in need of a serious bit of rest and relaxation, but still standing having crossed the finish line, or at least having crossed one of life’s many finishing lines.
Of course, once he reflects on his victory, Murray will think of those finals he lost, most recently the Wimbledon final and the lessons learned, the endless hours of training he’s had, the mentors (yes, even the ever charismatic Lendl!), the young lady at his side (Kim Sears), and his mum always cheering him on, the energy drinks and bars he consumes during a game, the mental stamina that he has to draw from, the knowledge of his Olympic Gold Medal winning performance over Federer, maybe even whoever or whatever it is that he points to in the sky after winning a game. There are a whole host of reasons, some definable and some not, why he persevered and won through. Just like the rest of us in life, there were times when he was on top and other times when he faced a backlash from his opponent and had to weather the storm before regrouping, revising tactics, shouting a bit and gritting his teeth and giving himself little pep talks and finally seeing the finish line in sight.
That epic tennis match struck me as just like life in so many ways and Murray’s honesty in saying he doesn’t know how he managed to come through in the end, well, how often have we echoed those very words?
But survive we do and when you have thought about and analysed the reasons why you have survived and persevered, even when, especially when, you have thought you were down and out and couldn’t take another step…be grateful for whatever it is that keeps you going, and cherish the view from life’s various finish lines.
You might just find, in your reflections, that there were/are elements that kept you going that you can’t explain, a mysterious ‘something’ that lifted your spirits, that sparked strength inside you you never knew you had. A memory came to you, a song, words from a book, an innocuous comment from a child, a sentence from someone on the radio, the sun unexpectedly breaking through the clouds, the rainbow in the sky. Little, and not so little, unexpected pointers to a greater ‘something’ that lifts you with the softest touch, whispers strength and courage where you only feel weak and fearful, calls you forward so that the next time you open you eyes you are standing once more, without ever really knowing how on earth you got there. Give thanks for that invisible hand that is there when no-one else is, that lifts and carries you when there is no-one to lift or carry you.
Thanks for reading.