HE'S PROBABLY THE BEST ATHLETE I'VE EVER COMPETED AGAINST. He taught me to play tennis, and a lot about winning and losing. More than once he claimed I'd never beat him until he was a hundred years old. He's getting very close...
... and I'd give anything to hit the ball with him again.
At lunch today, I asked him what would be the first thing he does when he gets to heaven.
I'll look at them all and say Ha Ha Ha, I made to the top!
All the guys who told me to go to hell.
'Cause I beat 'em all the time.
We all laughed, and I felt for those guys.
I was one of them.
Even though I was pretty good at one point on the court and he had to be 50ish, I could barely get a game off him. Never a set.
Once I asked him why he took up tennis. He wasn't super tall. He was blue collar all the way. He'd come to this country as a boy..
... and struggled and fought to fit in, to make something of his life, to persist and work really, really hard...
Because I was so gawdawful the first time... I'd always been a good athlete and here was this sport where I was terrible... and I wanted to practice and beat those guys. And I knew I could out work and out hustle all of them.
Of all the lessons he taught me it was that one. Hustle and hardwork can make up for a lot of deficiencies.
Sitting here after a nice day visiting, I realize his impact is maybe greater than I imagine.
After all, I am now 50ish myself, and though it's not tennis, I am still doing my best to out hustle and out work my young friends.
I hope we each make it to the top.
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