“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” —Richard Bach
Over the past weekend I went to the small boutique theater in town and took in the film Borg vs. McEnroe. As the 2018 Tennis season nears the kick-off of the French Open on May 21st, and I have been eager for it to begin with over a week to wait, this film was a wonderful pastime of entertainment to whet my appetite for all things tennis.
In 1980, I was not quite two years old, and while my parents played tennis, I never learned of either McEnroe’s hot-heated antics or the Ice Borg’s stealth talent and early retirement at the age of 26 until I was in my adulthood and enamored by the Williams sisters. Written by a young Swedish talent Ronnie Sandahl and directed by Danish documentary film-maker Janus Metz Pedersen, the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and was widely released last month. (Have a look at the trailer at the end of the post.) Even though I could have easily looked up the outcome of the Gentlemen’s Wimbledon Final in 1980, I didn’t and let the film tell the story. The match itself is sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat quality, but the juxtaposing of Borg and McEnroe’s lives leading up to the match are equally compelling (Borg’s more fully fleshed out as opposed to McEnroe’s, is somewhat understandable as it was written by Sandahl, also a Swede as is Borg).
I would easily view and enjoy the film again, and one take-away, regardless of the lives each men would lead after this momentous match in 1980, was the tenacity to persevere, to hang in there, until a dream, a goal, was realized.
Sometimes it can seem, as we travel and strive toward our goals, that the journey has become impossible, that we have set our sights too high, we have dreamed too big, we have bitten off more than we can chew.
In a video shared by Marie Forleo in 2016 she shares, “It is your responsiblity to find a way to express what only you came here to express. It won’t be simple. It’s not going to be easy. But the one thing you can bet on by taking the inspiring path is that you will never live a day in your life saying, ‘What if?’. And that is the safest bet you can make.”
Björn Borg may not have had the most conventional or “correct” swing in tennis, but it was massively effective. As the film shares, he may have channeled his temper and frustration into each swing itself making them all the more powerful and unreturnable, but as Borg himself states, “You have to find it. No one else can find it for you.” Borg wanted from a young age to be the best tennis player in the world. And in his time, he did accomplish this seemingly impossible feat.
In other words, in order to achieve what you seek, in order to arrive at your desired destination and seek if indeed what you thought was possible is indeed possible, you have to give everything and more than you might have ever imagined to your dream.
Spoiler (not really a spoiler) Alert: After a historic tie break in the fourth set in which John McEnroe wins, Borg eventually wins his fifth Wimbledon title in the fifth set, and due to the impressive match, McEnroe gains the previously elusive respect of the British tennis fans. The next year he would on to defeat Borg to win Wimbledon.
An excessive amount of stress, seemingly unbearable. An initially overwhelming hurdle to traverse. Whether it is a mark that we seek to attain that we have never reached before or a mark that society has never seen attained as Borg experienced in 1980 (at the time, he was the winnest Men’s Tennis champion at Wimbledon in the Open Era until Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer), simply because we have not seen it done, does not mean it cannot be done.
Part of the reason it is so difficult is because we do not have a visual that models how to navigate successfully the journey we are choosing to travel. We are the mapmaker. We are the captain. We are the model that others will eventually follow. Even if it is we ourselves who will follow again the path we successful maneuver the next season as Borg did and the next.
Having one person to support and cheer you on even when they do not understand the how, but rather believe in you and your dreams because they understand your strength, determine and fortitude is a helpful ally to have on your side, but most importantly, YOU must believe in your journey. YOU must believe and have a sincere passion for where you want to go. And when you do, I can assure you, that will be the infinite fuel you will need to continue the journey until you arrive.
Below I have gathered a few quotes to inspire you as you continue along your journey. You will arrive . . . just hang in there.
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” —Helen Keller
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe
“The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor. No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist, the more likely your success.” —Jack Canfield
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy–I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” —Art Williams
~Interesting fact, Bjorn Borg’s son with his third wife, Leo, plays the role of a the youngest Borg (see in the clip above.~
5 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Hang in There?”
I was 21 when this match was played and I don’t think I have watched a better match in my life. I played tennis fro early teens until mid 20’s the quit. I have recently retired so that is on my list of things to begin again.
Thank you for bringing this wonderful memory back to me?
Thank you for sharing your memory of this match. Simply based on the film’s depiction, it must have been thrilling to watch.
I love this reminder. So excited to see you reference Marie — I’ve done her B-School — she’s fabulous!
I am regularly inspired or motivated by her videos. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience having taken her class.
Am yet to see this film but read good reviews. I was delayed at Heathrow airport on the way to the Caribbean with my family and was angry but saw the match on live broadcast. Worth the delay.Wow it was nail biting. It really didn’t matter who won even though we had our favourite. An epic in every sense! Borg was ice cool and McEnroe was a ball of fire. They both hung in there until the end. ?