But Seriously: What I Learned From John McEnroe

“Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis seventeen times in a row.” – Vitas Gerulaitis after his victory over Jimmy Connors following sixteen straight losses.

True Confessions: Growing up I loved John McEnroe.  I loved watching him play tennis, and I loved his (bad) attitude.

Perhaps deep down I secretly had a problem with authority (sorry Dad).  Or maybe it was because I communicated so poorly that I wouldn’t dream of sticking up for myself the way McEnroe did.  Likely, I was just afraid that if I opened my mouth terrible things would happen.

My childhood was terrific – the worst things that ever happened to me were the equivalent of a random questionable line call in tennis (in other words, no big deal, or “first world” problems as some say).  However, I know what I occasionally felt, and I wanted to yell at someone.

I was too afraid.

But I loved that McEnroe wasn’t.  I loved the honesty of it.

Over the weekend I read McEnroe’s new book, “But Seriously.”  It’s not great literature, or even a particularly entertaining book.  However, I enjoyed it because it contains the same honesty I responded too watching him play.

The irony of the book’s title is that McEnroe’s main point, at least for me, is that we need to make sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

The next time I’m annoyed by a little thing I’m going to paraphrase Vitas Gerulaitis:

“Nobody beats Matt Willes seventeen times in a row.”

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