Play Your Game
I’m a fan of the synchronized sports shot.
This is probably one of my favorite pictures of Karl playing soccer because he and the other player are right at the same place in their stride.
I loved watching Karl play soccer.
Tennis was fun, too.
Karl and Michael made a good doubles team. In the picture, they’re sort of synchronized — weight on the left foot, backhand ready.
They did pretty well at tennis — for a couple of soccer players. Against the odds.
I heard their tennis coach give them the same advice over and over that year. “Just play your game,” he told them.
“Their game” was a fairly simple one. Return the ball.
While their opponents were trying to put spin and speed on the ball, not always very successfully, Karl and Michael simply returned the ball. Over. And over. And over.
Sometimes it aggravated their opponents. You could see them thinking, What the heck?! These yahoos don’t know squat about real tennis.
But Michael and Karl knew how to return the ball.
When one of them tried to get fancy, it inevitably failed. Coach would call them over. “Just play your game,” he reminded them.
It worked until they encountered a team whose skill was so superior that neither of them could return the ball. (See “Laughter“)
Coach’s advice was such good advice.
Lean in to your strengths.
Don’t worry too much about what others are doing.
Play your game.