Friday, 29 January 2016

 

'INSPIRATION, ADRENALIN and HEROES'

Inspiration in sport may just be the single most important aspect in determining whether a competitor has enough adrenalin to deliver the goods or whether he will deliver a 'ho hum' performance. I will never forget the day that the great Andre Agassi won Wimbledon in 1992 as it was a win for the outlandish, a win for the Rock Star image, a win for the not so standard type of player or style for that matter. It was a victory for the every day person who owned long hair and a desire to be famous along with it.
Back then I was a Glam Rock convert who's idols wore the long locks and paraded on stage with a strut not unlike Andre did on centre stage at the hallowed grounds of the All England Club in '92. I likened Agassi to someone who could front one of my favourite bands such as Def Leppard and Cheap Trick though delivering the voice to match Jo Elliot and Robin Zander may have been a tad out of reach.
The day after the Wimbledon victory by the Las Vegas showman was a day that I will put down in my tennis diary as a day that inspiration to play the game was taken to a new level. It almost gave me a feeling of invincibility and one that I was not aware of, a level of play that I had not experienced before. A strange sort of feeling yet understandable as my mind has always required a superstar of the game as a type of alter ego who talked me through things when I played.
A good buddy of mine rang me the next day " Hey Thommo did you watch Wimbledon " ? Did I ?? This was my reply.
"Mate I am inspired, you will have trouble stopping me, I am pumped, let's hit some balls, meet you at the club at ten hey" ?
So this is what happened at ten am that day with my buddy Chris. I hit the ball like a man possessed, like someone who was doing it for a living. I hit the ball so ridiculously well that I was tempted to ask for a berth in State Grade that weekend as Division 1 would not find anyone to get close to me. I felt almost unbeatable. I played outrageous tennis that day.
The next time I hit however I had come down off the high that Andre had put me on after his Wimbledon victory and my standard dropped big time. The intensity was not there and the cavalier type of play was replaced with 'standard hitting'. Tennis I felt was all in the mind and whilst I was disappointed I could not replicate that session with Chris I was perhaps more disappointed that I could not find a happy medium.
Sometimes in tennis we are as high as kites on adrenalin and inspiration after watching our heroes perform and other days we are as flat as pancakes. Would it be too much to regularly find somewhere in between ?
Different things inspire different players to do different things when we play but there is nothing quite like a hero to inspire us to go one better each time we walk onto a tennis court. We all need someone or something to make us want to play the game at a level that may be beyond us yet we can try to reach it with a little help from a 'higher being'.
That's why heroes were invented by us 'common' people. They make us strive for more in life......

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