As I sat and watched John Isner & Nicolas Mahut do battle yesterday at Wimbledon (and the day before, and the day before that), I found myself rooting for Mahut.
I know. I’m American, so clearly I should be pulling for Isner, right? It seemed like every American was pulling for Isner. And when the match ended, most people congratulated Isner on his victory, but failed to mention Mahut.
I guess I just see things differently. When it comes to international sports, I don’t care what country you are from. If it’s American sports, I don’t care what city you play in. I grew up just outside of Philly, and used to follow all the Philly teams: Sixers, Phillies, Flyers, Eagles. But all that has changed.
Sure, in the World Cup, I would like to see the U.S. do well. And I do root for them. But if a scrappy, underdog, third-world nation, cindarella story comes out of nowhere, I’d love to see them pull off the upset.
Isner is seeded #23. Mahut unseeded. Isner served first in the final set. Mahut had to serve 60+ times just to stay in the match. Isner leads the tour in aces. Who knows where Mahut ranks in that department?
But Mahut is in phenomenal shape. The guy could play for days without getting tired. His heart, passion, persistence, will to survive, relentless effort… it’s admirable. It also happens to be really fun to watch.
Who’s “my team?” I don’t have one.
I don’t have a team… or a favorite player, favorite city or favorite country. I don’t pick sides based on geography or nationality. As far as I’m concerned, we all live on planet Earth, and we are all human beings.
I root for the passionate. The underdog. The hard-worker fighting the uphill battle. The guy who sacrifices his body. The relentless. The one with an unparalleled love for her sport, and respect for the game. The first one to arrive. And the last one to leave.
At the end of the day
Because at the end of the day, there is so much more to life than the city where you grew up, the country where you live and the jersey on your back. It’s what’s inside all of that that really matters.