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Tennis legend Jimmy Connors gestures during a news conference at the Pacific Life Tennis Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Thursday, March 9, 2006. (ELISE AMENDOLA/AP)
Tennis legend Jimmy Connors gestures during a news conference at the Pacific Life Tennis Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Thursday, March 9, 2006. (ELISE AMENDOLA/AP)

I’ll heed tennis great Jimmy Connors’s words in sticking to my resolutions Add to ...

There is an old Spanish proverb: “It is not the same to talk of bulls as to be in the bull ring.”

And let’s face it, folks: A lot of the resolutions we make on this day will prove, in the fullness of time, to be “talk of bulls.”

A recent study following 3,000 people found that by the end of the year, 88 per cent had failed to stick to their resolution. And according to a recent survey by Virgin Mobile Canada, more than half of us say “uncle” and throw in the towel by the end of January.

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So how to stick to your guns? Me, I look to my childhood hero and the man I consider the patron saint of trying hard and never, ever giving up: tennis great Jimmy Connors.

To be clear: I never gave a crap about tennis, or any sports, really, as a kid. I was a bookworm, a nerd. But I found the spectacle of Jimmy Connors playing tennis electrifying. His opponent would drop some dinky little drop shot over the net and Jimmy Connors would be way over on the other side and you’d be sitting there thinking: “Oh, well, good point, too bad, Jimmy, can’t win ’em all.” His opponent would practically be sauntering to the sidelines for a swig of water.… And then you’d notice that Jimmy was going for it! This impossible shot! And you’d be thinking: “No, no, Jimmy, please, you’re embarrassing yourself, sometimes you just have to accept when you’ve lost the point.”

And then, to your amazement, he’d get it! And win the point! And that’s when a look of doubt would start to cross his opponent’s face.… And the tennis commentators, as tennis commentators will, would immediately begin to switch from talking about how “troubled” his career had been lately to how “on fire” it was.

So that’s how I’m going to be this year. Two quotes attributed to Jimmy Connors are my twin mottos: 1) “People don’t seem to understand it’s a damn war out there,” 2) “Rather than viewing a brief relapse back to inactivity as a failure, treat it as a challenge and try to get back on track as soon as possible.”

And those are my twin resolutions: 1) To remember “it’s a damn war out there,” and 2) To go after everything, no matter how sad and tragic the spectacle might be to various pundits and commentators. Okay, no more “talking of bulls.” Time for all of us to get into the ring, take our vices, demons, shortcomings and setbacks by the horns, and hang on for dear life. Toro! Onwards!

 

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