Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to hit for an hour with my friend John Tashiro. We’d met during our travels on the senior tennis circuit and gotten along well enough for him to give me a blurb for my book Tennis as a Wisdom Practice. John has had serious tennis training and it shows. His strokes are flawless, and his footspeed is impressive for a man his age. He’s ranked in the top ten nationally in the 50s.
I loved every minute of it. We did some drills I was unfamiliar with and while he was more consistent than I, I managed to maintain a high enough level to keep it interesting for him. Seeing him hit the ball so beautifully and knowing that I was in the dance of tennis with him had a curious effect: I felt at his level — he lifted me up, so to speak.
Because John is one helluva tennis player, and I was sharing a court with him and, roughly speaking, at his level, I’d become one helluva tennis player, too.
I take an important message away from this. Our ego tells us we are separate, and in fact the ego is right. We are! But we’re also a lot more connected — a lot more intersected — than we realize. We feed off each other in countless ways. And we mirror each other, too.
We really are in this together, a lot more profoundly than our everyday self knows.
To what extent is your self-assessment as a tennis player about you and to what extent is it about the people who are on the court with you? Are you attuned, both on- and off-court, to how much we co-create together?