Roger Federer and Josh Cribbs: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam titles; the most any male has ever won in tennis history. At 36, his career spans fifteen years and 97 titles. He has been ranked #1 in the world for over 300 weeks.

Wikipedia measures him at 6’1. Several years ago I found myself on the treadmill next to him in a Paris hotel. If he is 6’1, it is the least imposing 6’1 ever. After the treadmill, where I pretended to pay no attention to him, he was “working out” with his trainer.

He was in Paris competing in the French Open. While competing, apparently his work outs consisted of stretching, a lot of stretching. And then more stretching. As far as physical specimens go, he is no LeBron. Physically I would say he is a kind of ordinary guy who has accomplished extraordinary success.

Of course this was as best I could see while pretending not to notice him in this small hotel gym. Later in the day I was waiting for an elevator when a floral bouquet, the biggest one I had ever seen, got off at my floor. I decided to follow the delivery to see who was getting the biggest arrangement I had ever seen.

So I followed the flowers down the hall and hung back to “peek” at the recipient. To my surprise it was Roger Federer. I had officially become a stalker.

Fast forward ten years to last Sunday. I stop at my corner gas station, dogs in tow. As I am returning to the car I see a dead ringer for Josh Cribbs. Surely he was too small to really be Josh Cribbs. I made a painful decision to keep walking and not continue my stalker ways. Surely they would be in vain. Really, what was Josh Cribbs doing at my gas station anyway?

Within minutes the gas station attendant exploded out the door to my car to show me Josh Cribbs autograph. It had indeed been Josh and not only did he not see the attendant as a stalker, he gave him an autograph. Wikipedia list Josh at 6’1. Maybe. I would say he was a smaller player who played way beyond his physical limitations.

These two athletes are not amazing physical specimens although they are professional athletes. They didn’t allow their size to deter their ambition.

What past behavior are you allowing to frame your current behavior?

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