By Nima Movassaghi
We come to Weil Tennis Academy to play tennis. We come to Weil to become better athletes, better competitors, and better people. The opportunity of competitive sport is preparation for the competitive sport of life.
In life we must compete to succeed—to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Experience speaks volumes, and our immersion on the court — just as in the classroom — is preparation for life in the world. We all have different paths ahead of us; some of us will earn world-class degrees from top universities while balancing a competitive four-year collegiate tennis career. Others will balance school and tennis with the aspiration of playing professionally. Each path is unique, but our days at Weil prepare us for the cutthroat world we enter upon graduation.
The world is a competitive place. Promising figures in every field flake out when the going gets tough, but dark horses also emerge and work their way to elite-status. The number of 4 and 5 star recruits every year in collegiate athletics who produce a subpar athletic career is high. The majority of these student-athletes who relied on talent throughout their high school careers succumb to the pressure that comes with being a college athlete. Retrospectively, lower rated recruits find their way to the pros and post successful careers. Facing adversity is a blessing. We have to stand up, get up, take shots, fall down, and get back up to try all over again. It’s not about causing others to lose as much as it’s about causing ourselves to win.
The investments we and our families make in our opportunity for success now lay the foundation for a long road ahead. It’s four for 40, or 50, 60, even 70 years of driving forward to create an opportunity not only for ourselves, but the generation that follows. Just as our parents have done for us, it’s for us to succeed in making the same or more possible for our own children one day.
How do we do that?
We commit. We practice. We play. We take the challenge by the horns day after day with relentless drive and passion, inspired by the possibility of a brighter future for ourselves and everyone who follows in our footsteps. And so it is that we wake up early, pick up our books and our rackets, our shoes and balls, and we set out to accomplish our goals for the day.
These goals — our goals — are the cornerstones of the road we strive to pave for everyone.
Taking the long view, we must see that how we do what we do today is at the center of not only how we do what we do tomorrow, but how others will get up to do what they do down the road. And so it is that we wake up committed to giving our best effort. You’re going to have the wins and losses, but playing the game for what it means is what matters.
Ask yourself where you see yourself tomorrow, next year, three, four, five years from now, and even times each of those. Some have futures on the court as professional tennis players; I have the utmost respect for athletes who commit themselves to this goal and make the appropriate sacrifices to accomplish it. However, most will move on to life doing other thing — making a difference in other games of life.
My own future beyond college won’t be on the tennis court as a player or a coach. I love the game with all my heart, and I know that I will be content with moving on to bigger things in life after I graduate from college. Being on the court now is what is preparing for whatever court I step onto next.
I sat next to former Super Bowl champion linebacker Willie McGinest on my recent flight from Los Angeles to Boston. He asked briefly about Weil and its mission. He asked if I plan on going to graduate school after college, to which I replied with a resounding: “Yes.”
“Just use now to help you later, kid.”
Wise words, Willie.
Whether hospital operating rooms, laboratories, courtrooms, sales offices, or Wall Street, our success here and now teaches us how to be successful — how to win, how to lose, and how to get back up to try again.
We’re learning how to never give up. It’s not that we’re not already fierce competitors, but that we’re learning how to be fierce in every aspect of life.
Our mastery of that is the ultimate prize both for ourselves and for the world.