“We’re all bozos on the bus so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.” – Wavy Gravy, Clown/Activist
I watched the U.S. Open Women’s final on Sunday and witnessed the very experienced and very talented Serena Williams lose to Australian Samatha Stosur. Serena has won 13 Grand Slam titles and Samantha has now won her first. Before the match started, Serena was the clear favourite to win and Samantha assumed the position of the underdog.
The Aussie underdog won in 2 straight sets.
How did Samantha manage to win? Well, she played damn good tennis and Serena didn’t. The other reason was that Serena messed with her own mental game by arguing with the umpire about a ruling. The umpire took a point away from Serena because she shouted, “Come on!” as the ball was traveling over the net about to meet with Samantha’s racket. When the umpire made the calling, Serena was none too happy and spent the remainder of the match looking pissed off and throwing the umpire all kinds of attitude. Serena’s colourfully painted nails were waving in the air a bit more than usual.
With all of her experience and talent, Serena wasn’t accountable or gracious or classy or calm or didn’t just laugh it off (shall I go on?) because it would help her stay focused, relaxed, and mentally strong for the remainder of the match. How has this player of this calibre not mastered the skill of keeping her cool in a big tennis match???
I sat there absolutely blown away that the accomplished player had made such a blatant error.
My shock (and slight judgement) regarding Serena’s behaviour faded when I remembered what good ol’ Wavy Gravy says…”we’re all bozos on the bus…” In other words, Serena was just demonstrating that we are all bumbling around, doing our very best, and learning all kinds of lessons throughout this human experience.
On Sunday at Arthur Ashe stadium, despite what you or I think about the situation, Serena did the very best she could based on what she knew and had experienced up until that moment.
Just like you and I and everyone else on the planet, Serena is here to learn lessons from her experiences and yesterday’s tennis match provided her with one hell of an experience and lesson if she’s finally ready to learn it. I say “finally” because last year Serena lost her U.S. Open semi-final match when she was peanalized on match point for her second conduct infraction – verbally abusing a line judge. Seems like Serena was back again this year to learn the same lesson again.
Have you ever noticed that you receive the same lesson over and over again until you learn it? The universe can be persistent that way.
Maybe one day Serena will change because she’ll finally see that her old behaviours have costed her Grand Slam titles. Until then, all the women on the tennis tour should start hoping that Serena receives a controversial ruling during their match.
Just because she’s great at a sport, Serena’s a human like the rest of us – living out life lessons through experiences. Just like us, she’s just another bozo on the bus who happens to have one of the greatest serves in the history of women’s tennis.
If imperfections found within yourself and/or others is a source of suffering in your life, keep in mind that errors, mistakes, and wrong turns are just signs that we’re in the middle of learning something like keeping one’s cool when playing a big tennis match.