A Sports Lesson about Tenacity and Focus

sports tenacityThis past weekend, we witnessed an unprecedented come from behind win by the U.S Women’s golf team as they defeated the European side despite the huge odds against them. Needing to win 8 ½ points out of 12 being disputed, they faced the highly favorite European team with total focus and determination.

In the early morning on the last day of play, Sunday, an unfortunate sportsmanship incident prevented the U.S. team from possibly earning a point. Already behind in points, inexperience played a setback that put the team against the ropes. This incident shocked the core of the team. Players were upset and highly disappointed; however, rather than giving up, the players rallied around one another and re-focused on the task ahead of them. With determination and will, they put behind the questionable unfairness showed by the European team and played fearless golf. At the end, the U.S team won the Solheim Cup by the minimum of margins. Needless to say, the huge celebration started.

But, what may we learn from them? Golf or any other sport requires its full and undivided attention of the present moment. What really counts is what happens in front of us, not the past or the future. We can only control the now moment. Those female players taught us that putting the unfortunate incident behind them and stay focused on the present moment would give them the best chances to succeed. Of course that such a strategy does not guarantee results, but it surely helps to allows us do the very best we are capable of doing.

We are constantly tempted to get distracted. It could come from a bad referee call, a lucky catch by the opponent, a tennis ball hitting the net that just drops on our side, or a golf ball resting on a divot. Playing a sport well is more than just showcasing your talent. It requires that we learn to mentally prepare ourselves to navigate the many unforeseen obstacles that are part of the game we choose to play.

Michael Jordan stopped looking at his teammates’ weaknesses and learned to be a leader before winning six championships. Andre Agassi emotionally and physically started from scratch and faced incredible obstacles before regaining his number one world ranking. Mariano Rivera was removed from the New York Yankees rotating pitching and accepted to be a closer only to become the greatest one of all time.

We can only control what is in front of us. So, go for it and remain positive.

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