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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8 hrs
no ride