Wimbledon, the most impressive of all tennis tournaments, is over, and I am sad. For two weeks, Dave and I record the matches so we can watch them together when he gets home from work. Seeing English nobility in the “Royal Box” is thrilling, and everywhere the camera pans, there is no shortage of excellence, including the ball-boys and ball-girls. These are no ordinary ball retrievers.
Over 700 teens apply, and after a written test, 250 are selected and train for five months to perfect their skills of tossing, catching, and rolling the tennis balls as well as learn how to “present” the towel to the sweaty athlete. They scurry like jackrabbits to nab errant balls and return to their assigned position where they stand like robots. Perfection is expected.
The code of professionalism extends to everyone. This year, Serena Williams (the best female tennis player ever!) was fined $10,000 for damaging the grass practice court when she frustratedly threw her racquet to the ground. Three players were fined when the umpire found their coaches giving advice during the match. Bernard Tomic was fined his entire $56,000 prize money when the umpire determined he had not “tried hard enough.” (If fans are going to pay big bucks to watch this level of tennis, they deserve to get their money’s worth.)
This year, Dave and I were especially excited when Saturday’s women’s final round involved Serena Williams (U.S.A.) and Simona Halep (Romania), two of my favorites. I watched the match live that morning but recorded it for Dave who would pick up Chinese food on the way home from the ballpark and we would view it together. (I would need to gag myself not to disclose who won.) It didn’t matter. As Dave left the locker room, one of the other coaches shared the news: “Hey, Roachie, could you believe Serena got crushed?”
So much for our Wimbledon picnic. Dave opted not to watch the game.
Sunday would make up for it. Roger Federer would take on Novak Djokovic (whom I rooted against because he rudely rolled his eyes at one of the ball handlers). Once again, I DVR’d the event, joining the almost-ten million fans who watched on their televisions. Following church, Dave and I would hold our Wimbledon picnic and watch Roger win. I was on the edge of my chair the entire time. Four hours into it, they were tied when Dave’s phone buzzed and he blurted out, “This can’t be right. This lists the years Djokovic has won Wimbledon, and 2019 is listed. How would they know?” I stared at him. In shock. “Because England is five hours ahead of us. That’s why we record it,” I reminded him.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Dave just did to me what the other coach had done to him. My day was ruined. The suspense was gone. I now knew the ending. Dave immediately moved to the kitchen so I could sulk alone…which I did well, thank you very much. But then something changed. I found myself relaxing. The “highs” of Federer’s aces and “lows” of his errors were gone because I knew the results.
For most things, life doesn’t work like that…which probably is a good thing. None of us know how our day/week/month/life will turn out. All we have is this moment…except, that is, where the Bible is concerned. From the beginning to the end, we are given the full picture of how life plays out. God created. Satan interfered. Jesus saved and will return again to open Heaven’s doors for all who make him Lord.
Granted, there are earthly, daily, unpredictable issues for all of us (like people who disclose tennis results prematurely), but we can relax and not get too concerned about our “highs” and “lows” when we know the outcome of what really matters. Jesus wins. Satan loses. And we all know that in eternity’s case, the stakes are much higher than those of a tennis tournament.