Do you think you can be good friends with someone you compete against?
It’s fitting that I’m writing this week’s entry sitting in a Cafe from Montreal Canada. For me the two best things about this lifestyle is the places you visit and the incredible people you meet. Most commonly they turn out to be great contacts to stay with and occasionally some become amazing life-long friends. The friends, companions or even travel buddies you make within the sport are what makes it such a special journey and a truly amazing career.
As always there are ups and downs of travel, clearly communication can prove to be difficult and relationships can suffer from this as you simply loose touch with people. On the plus side they too live this same crazy life and therefore understand exactly how hard it can be at times. It’s probably the reason many of us can come and go from towns and cities, from my place to theirs at random intervals over weeks, months and even years but it’s as though nothing has ever changed.
The modern world of social media is a sportspersons best friend! I couldn’t imagine only having access to reading a book on a 24hr trip around the world, how boring. Instead I’m able to text my best mate in London, What’s app my girl in Wales, snap chat my sister at home, message my mate in Boston and let’s not forget advertise my highlight moments on Facebook like having a chai latte, I mean updating my tournaments results. All this keeps me connected, sane and able to keep up with what everyone is doing.
There is however a line drawn and friendships of players can be tested to their limits. Walking through the door to the squash court is where happy relationship ends and they become a competitive opponent that I’m determined to beat. It’s the job. Once the match is over, (give it 10 mins or maybe a little longer on a bad day) your right back to buddies. Having a laugh about how horrible the referee was is usually a good ice breaker). It’s important to maintain clarity and be able to separate the friendship from the reason your there, work.
Squash is very much a small world of everyone knows everyone. It doesn’t mean we all get along of course as everyone has their own clicks, but in the end we would all rally around and help each other out in a pickle.
Common issues awaiting us such as that crappy hotel room and maybe someone to share with.Have you experienced a dreaded delayed flight saga? How good is it to chat and lunch with someone. It’s a nice feeling that you can fly from place to place knowing there’s someone at the other end. If you’re not playing against each other you can even get some of that coach advice to get you through a match.
One of the greater benefits from having so many global companions is that they can visit the best country in the world, the place I call home, Australia. I might be biased but I take great pride in having people stay with me to show off the sights and attractions. I see it as karma I guess, I go out of my way to get my guest the best possible memories of my place, not only to have them come back but to receive a similar welcome at their home. As they say friendship is a two way street, right!
Playing this sport allows me to travel over the globe and meet up with people to grab a chai latte at whatever crazy destination we find ourselves in, I can’t impinge another job quite like it!
& that’s My Athletes Mind…