Closer to the End Than the Beginning

During his interview with the ESPN team following a four-set victory over Kei Nishikori in the men’s semi-finals of the 2016 US Open tennis tournament, Stan Wawrinka was asked if he had an explanation for his winning ways in recent years – a victory over Rafael Nadal to win the 2014 Australian Open, a win over Novak Djokovic in the 2015 French Open final and now another opportunity as a finalist in this year’s US Open against Djokovic who is also the number one player on the tour.

“I believe I am closer to the end than I am to the beginning,” the 31-year-old Wawrinka responded and implied that he understood the limits of playing professional tennis into his thirties like the Williams sisters and Roger Federer who are apparently the equivalent of the proverbial Energizer bunny in their tennis careers.  The reality of the finite nature of his capabilities had inspired him to prepare to play his very best on the biggest stages at the Grand Slam venues in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York City. Stan played to win.

I resemble that remark, I thought, when I heard the Swiss player make it.  Closer to the end than the beginning – part of the largest generation ever, a generation gradually passing into what? The twilight years, the golden years, the days of wine and roses? The days of fixed incomes and variable costs of living…the days of eye floaters and arthritis…of grandchildren that bring joy and hope… and parents with special needs…the days of loss of friends and family…the days of disbelief in news headlines…you know he didn’t, but he did.

We are living on the short side of time and if we share Stan’s spirit, we also have an opportunity to play our best games in the championship matches that challenge us to reach beyond what we can see and hear and touch in our everyday lives – a call to dig deeper and continue to contribute our abilities that will make a positive difference in a world we helped to create, in the families we choose to love.

And so Stan Wawrinka will play tomorrow in the final with an outcome to be determined on the Arthur Ashe Court of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. He will bring his best game and when he needs encouragement, it won’t come from the fans who watch but from within himself. He has a tattoo on his left arm in Italic script by the Irish writer Samuel Beckett:

“Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.” 

Good luck to Stan and to Novak, too – and to all of us a good night.



About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Personal, sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Closer to the End Than the Beginning

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    Sheila, I love that phrase/ title: ” living on the short side of time.” We surely are. Evey twingey joint, every dyspeptic stone, every stray grey drives the point home. The Boomers are old, but we’re not down. Not yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Ann, what would I ever do without you? You ALWAYS understand what I’m trying to say – even if I don’t say it with total clarity. Bless you for following, reading and responding…to me.
      Much love,


      • Wayside Artist says:

        I think you, T and I are soul sisters. Sometimes I’m too absorbed with my turn caring for an elderly parent to comment regularly. Just know your biggest fan is cheering you on. You’re still in the game Sheila!

        Much love,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we are soul sisters – the three of us…and nothing you ever do will be as important To You as caring for your mother. Trust me…and we are thinking of you.


  2. Pingback: Closer to the End Than the Beginning – Red's Rants and Raves

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.