A Lesson in Gratitude

A story from the world of tennis today, but applicable to all of us.

We have just returned from a 6 week Airstream journey through the desert southwest. The ultimate goal of the trip was to spend a couple weeks in Palm Springs and attend a few days at the BNP Paribas tennis tournament. It is often called the 5th major due to it's popularity with not only the fans, but also the players. Both the WTA (women) and ATP (men) play which makes it even more fun.

We saw Victoria Azeranka play an early round (she eventually won the women's crown. We also saw Nadal, Wawrinka and Halep on the Stadium court. More interesting are seeing the young guys and gals on the outer courts as they begin to make their mark.

By far the most entertaining match I saw was a doubles match with the Bryan brothers. Bob and Mike Bryan have already made their mark on tennis by being the most successful duo of all time. Over 900 match wins and over 100 titles. The match was great and the stadium was completely packed ... rare for an early round doubles match.

But this story is about what they did after they won the round of 16 match at this years BNP Paribas tournanment.

It is customary for the winner of the match to sign 3 tennis balls and hit them into the crowd. They did the post match interview and then obliged the custom. That's when the fun started. They signed every ball that had been used in the match, then they started opening new cans they had in their bags. The crowd was going crazy. They must have jacked over 50 signed tennis balls into the crowd. Then they threw all their wristbands, towels and various other clothing items into the crowd. Then they reached into the iced tubs of sports drinks and started tossing bottles of gatorade into the stands. They finished it up by signing autographs for what seemed like another 15 minutes.

I just couldn't help but smile and laugh at was one of the most awesome show of gratitude that I've seen at a major sporting event ... or any sporting event for that matter.

So what is the actionable lesson for me (& you). Be thankful for the people around you that have made your career what it is (& will be). Show them how much you appreciate them.

The Bryan brothers are nearing the end of their professional career, but they have certainly learned the lesson of showing gratitude. If you look for the good in people, you will find it.