I have enjoyed watching two sports throughout my life: tennis and figure skating. The end of January was a bonanza month with the Australian Open and the US National Figure Skating Championships. Thanks to the wonder of the contemporary world, I was able to watch a lot of both of them despite not having cable.
As always, I was inspired by their skills, strength and determination. And, when it was all over, I enjoyed watching them have some fun, too. The tennis fun happened at a Roger Federer Foundation fundraiser in South Africa where he played Rafael Nadal in an exhibition match. While they were clearly competing, they were smiling as they did so and even making jokes and a little trash talk. Clearly having fun playing the game to which they have devoted their whole lives:
For the ice skaters, the fun comes after the competition in the skating spectacular where they can dial down the pressure (no required elements, no worries about under rotations), put on some cool costumes and have fun with no thought to competition at all. Certainly, the best example of this was the ice dancing pair of Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker who skated to Swan Lake:
I wonder sometimes how top competitors keep up the motivation and commitment, and these moments of fun give us a clue: they really love their sport. We see a passion, sheer joy, that goes beyond any superficial desire to win.