… breaking back! I have heard many courage stories, but this one about JAMES BLAKE who lost everything and succeeded to win back his life particularly touched me.
This great tennis player impressed me a lot during the US Open. His forehand, his quickness to run all over the court are some of the reasons why he has so many fans. At every match he played, there was a section in the stadium called the “J-Block”, his fans were all wearing the same t-shirt and headbands. I was curious and wanted to know more about James Blake so a friend of mine lend me his book “Breaking Back, How I Lost Everything and Won Back my Life”
This People’s Sexiest Male Athlete in 2002 was living a dream life: family, fame, fans,… Then, in 2004, a series of unfortunate events happened. He broke his neck on a tennis net pole, his father lost his battle against cancer and he contracted a virus that paralyzed half of his face. During that dark period, he could have just give up… but no! he fought back, he wanted to break back (allusion to tennis: when you loose your serve, you have to break your opponent serve in order to get back in the match)
He managed to slowly recover and returned in the professional tour. He was even ranked 4th in the world in 2006. James believes that his courage is due to his father’s valuable lessons and the support of his family and friends. He considers himself lucky to not have attended those big tennis academies like most of young talents. The fact that his parents gave more importance to his studies over tennis brought him a “normal” life where he get to go to college and live near his dear family and friends.
I encourage you all to read his book (will only take you 1 day, 2 tops :) even if you are not a tennis fan, because there are great life lessons.
For those who won’t have the time to read it, i will write down some of my favorite quotes. But before, I wanted to take a moment here to thank you. Life is not always easy, but your support, your smiles or just having you there make me feel that life is beautiful.
“I used to think this was ironic; now I realize that my success flows directly from having cleared those hurdles”
“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there”
“If most adolescent athletes have “sports parents,” then I had “school parents” -a mother and father who revered education above everything else and treated it as a lifelong pursuit”
“Life is just what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
“I I were to say ‘God, why me?’ about the bad things, then I should have said ‘God, why me?’ about the good things that happened in my life”
“5 minutes of hitting, 25 minutes of talking”
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other”
“Don’t worry about winning every match or about your regional ranking -just worry about getting better”
“I cannot help but think that childhood friends are the bedrock of all one’s future relationships, and that you move away from them at your risk. There is an African proverb in which I believe: Hold on to your friends with both hands”
“If you can win 1 set, you can win 2”
“As is our confidence, so is our capacity”
“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies”
“We all encounter adversity in our lives. The real reflection of character is how we deal with it”
If you have been inspired by any other stories, feel free to suggest me your favorite books :)
(Merci Olibou pour cette belle lecture)