in Sports

How Tennis & Business Intersected (For Me)

So, I spent the weekend playing in a tennis tournament. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. But what could I expect? I don’t play much anymore and that was a conscious decision I made last year, after losing in a different tournament.

I’ve never been much of a tournament player, so losing isn’t any really notable deal. The real issue is the fact that I decided last year, that after playing tennis for almost 20 years of my life; that I had grown tired of it.

It’s simply not fun anymore. It never really was fun in a traditional sense. Part of that is largely due to the fact that I was never very good and it took me almost forever to actually become a semi-competent ballstriker.

In spite of that, tennis was great to me. Not just because it was something to do growing up, but the fact was..it was all I knew and I learned well from watching. So I develop my eye for coaching pretty early on, but never imagined that I’d actually get the opportunity to run my own program someday.

But I did.

I had the opportunity to see my high school tennis coach a few weeks ago. He’s well into his 80s and not as vibrant as he once was. I called him before I went to his house and the conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hi Coach, this is Ronald Bronson.”
Coach: “Ronald Bronson?”
Me: “Yeah Coach, Ronnie.” (Note: Coach remains the only person to this day to call me this. In other words, don’t get any ideas…)
Coach: “Ronald Bronson” ::pauses:: I had a Ronald Bronson on one of my teams. He didn’t hit the ball real well. But he could organize stuff. Made him captain his senior year.
Me: ::laughing:: “That’s me, Coach.”

The moral of that story is something he always said me to after my playing days were over during my (sporadic) visits back east. He always told me that what he liked about me was that I didn’t quit. That all of the years when I played, when I was clearly terrible, it never occurred to me that I should stop playing. I just never seriously thought about it, no matter what else I had going on.

When I thought about that this weekend and how it relates to my fears about business, I started to see the parallels.

A few years ago, when I started to take my own entrepreneurial projects more seriously; I came to the conclusion that if I really didn’t want to do this, I would’ve quit a long time ago. Because nothing about it is easy and you spend inordinate amounts of “free” time working on stuff that may go up in flames for any number of reasons. But if you can’t fathom a scenario in which you’d rather be doing anything else, it becomes interesting to consider other things to do with your time.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about “well, what will I do if [insert thing here] doesn’t work out” because I’m pretty good at that. It’s more like, I don’t want to. And I don’t feel like there is a need to (at least, not yet…)