This was a tough week for me. Many past thoughts went though my head. At times I believe everyone wonders if they are a good human as I have had many doubts. Much of my life, and others, are filled with mentors who help shape who we are and how we live life.
In this blog I had written about the only mentor I had in my life until I was in my teens. That was my grandfather. In my high school years, I had Mr. Gary Clark and Mr. Larry Anderson. They were two people who influenced me to take life seriously. I often wonder without them, would I be where I am today or in jail.
Until I had a son, I thought, well, naturally I wanted to raise him to have a full emotional yet stable life. Then I tried to and I discovered that there's a big difference between believing a boy should show his feelings freely and actually having a boy who does. I was fortunate in 1984 to attend a tennis camp. It was called Tennis and Life camp. While I never forgot the lessons from that camp, I never really implemented them in my own life.
Raising a child is difficult and because of my emotional faults, I was a single father. I decided that my son needed to have good role models. He already had a very wise lawyer as a grandfather who was instrumental in raising a fine young man. The other was Steve Wilkinson. He was the originator of the fermented tennis camp. I decided it was best my son attended the camp.
Because of my son’s perceived handicap, Steve really took my son under his wing. He emphasized the importance of the three crowns in tennis and in life.
The first crown symbolizes that you have the choice to be positive, no matter what the situation. You should focus on the things that are in your control, and let go of the things that are not in your control. Such as when you compete, whether you win or not isn’t in your control, just as your final grade isn’t in your control—what you can have control over is your attitude.
The second crown is commitment to give your full effort. Don’t just blow off a course, but give it your all—regardless of the grade you will receive, the comments you may receive or regretful feeling as we live our lives.
The third crown is good sportsmanship—we are always looking to find ways to affirm that. That’s why I teach sports ethics. It combines my interest in religion with sports—a meaningful combination.
So I truly believe my son had three fathers. Besides the biological father, me, he had his grandfather and Steve Wilkinson. Steve dies this past week. That resulted in a hole in many hearts, including mine and I ma sure my son’s.
If the readers of this post do not know the man, I suggest you read the memoir he was able to publish before he passed. It is called “let love serve” and I really suggest you read it. It will give a full understanding of what it means to live life fully.
We will be going to this funeral next week, and I for one will have a difficult time. I anticipate my son will as well. When you lose such a hero, it is difficult. Although now more than anytime in my life, it is important to recall the lessons Steve taught me 30 years ago and this time, implement them.