I watched the 1st Covid-era French Open this week. And I didn't enjoy it.
I usually love to watch a little tennis, but without a crowd it wasn't enjoyable. I wondered why. I thought I liked to watch tennis ... for the tennis.
I love watching the players; their incredible skill and athleticism, witnessing the battle, the amazing shots and rallies, the anticipation of each point, the suspense of who will win. I watch because I enjoy the beauty, the sheer physicality and the emotionally challenging game that is tennis. So why don't I enjoy watching covid-no-crowd tennis?
It seemed a bit pointless (purposeful pun haha), and totally lifeless without a crowd. Surely the presence of a stadium crowd shouldn't affect my screen watching of the game though? The players are full to the brim of life! It doesn't make sense.
It's been on my mind for the last few days and I've been wondering what it is about a crowd that changes nothing... but everything.
On the surface of it, I like that at the French Open there's always crowd snippets of beautiful Parisians and their style. And when the camera pans in on a stranger and catches them unawares, totally caught up in the moment, it's relatable, it makes you feel like you're there too. You're watching the game with them, together, a shared experience. But these added extra's. 98% of the time is spent watching the players. The actual playing of the game of tennis by two highly skilled athletes, both out to win.
So why is it so unenjoyable to watch without a crowd?
Getting ready for bed tonight, I thought about it again. I considered what the crowd brings that makes or breaks the viewing experience. And it suddenly came to me - it's the energy of the people in the crowd. And it's the absence of feeling their energy that's missing.
The crowd, a bunch of people who enjoy the same thing I do - watching players play, bring their energy with them. Unintentionally or not. Then they're energised by doing something they enjoy. Then that individual, energised energy is amplified by the environment. And collectively that energy has power.
The combined, amplified energy of a group of strangers united by a common interest is powerful.
It's so powerful that it can (absent of covid) make it's way from a tennis stadium, in tiny little fragments all the way around the world, through your screen, into your living room and into you - you can actually feel it. The INVISIBLE powerful cumulative energy of a bunch of strangers half a world away. Incredible.
And this is what covid era tennis reminded me.
The absence of human energy reminded me about the power of human energy - particularly when married with an area of interest.
That you bring your energy to everything you do, and even when you don't realise it, your own energy is contributing to the world.
It has a really big impact. And I'm not just talking about grand slams here. The same individuals creating the energy at Grand Slams are going about their daily lives, just like you and me. Carrying that same energy with them, individually and collectively.
I realise this revelation is nothing new. It's yet another proof point of the power of the energy you give, and the energy you receive. There's been a ton of writing on it, especially this year. But, for me anyway, my tennis crowd energy realisation is a reminder that we send a lot of energy out into this world and it's super important to make sure it's good energy. Because it's powerful individually, and super powerful collectively.
So today, and hence forth, I'm bringing a little more mindfulness to the energy I put out.
And taking doing the things I love a little more seriously. Making a conscious effort to carve out time to write and paint and see art and be with friends and have fun with my family and be out in nature. Because when we do things we love it brings out the good energy, and that's good for you, good for me, and really good for the world.
As an equally important member of team people power, I'm putting out the bonne énergie and filling up our collective goodness for a good outcome. For me, for you, and for everyone.
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