Tonight is the final match of the Australian Open. I enjoy watching tennis and look forward to it each year. I also look forward to it being over and getting my life back from the TV set! I don’t watch a lot of TV during the year but in January I make up for it. It’s fortunate the Open is played during January where people are either on holidays or in a holiday frame of mind if they are working. Come February everything that was in recess, including church activities, starts up again so watching tennis is a nice way to relax before the year really starts.

I have never really played tennis myself apart from the occasion ‘hit’ so it’s a little surprising that I like to watch it. It is not so much the physical aspect of the game that I take pleasure from, though some of the shots are really amazing but it is the mental side of the game I find fascinating, especially with a scoring system that is so bizarre. I find it inspiring watching the determination of the players. (I like watching cricket for similar reasons because despite being a team sport it is very much made up of individual performances, since everyone has to bat. The final day of a golf tournament has a similar appeal.)

I’ve seen players keep going when they aren’t playing well, when it is hot and sometimes, when they are injured. Time and time again I’ve watched players staring defeat in the face and yet they never give up. Sometimes they still lose the match, but sometimes they find another way to win or their sheer persistence and determination wears down their opponent.

I find lots of parallels between sport and the spiritual life.