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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

The Three Crowns, The Holiday Season, and Conquering Fear

Dear Tennis & Life Friends,

Tennis & Life Camps’ campers are a wide cross section of Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, Independents and Libertarians. Muslims.  And Jews.  And Christians.  And atheists.  Buddhists and Hindus.  Agnostics.  People who identify themselves as spiritual but not affiliated with a religion.  And every color of the rainbow.

On our staff we have whites, blacks, Asian Americans, African, straight, gay, Muslim, Christian, women, men.  We celebrate that.  We may have different traditions but the same goal: to foster peace in the world; to love others to the best of our abilities.   And to teach a dang good game of tennis. We do so by trying to carry out the Three Crowns of attitude, effort, and sportsmanship as best we can.


We fail just like everyone else.  We pre-judge, we are quick to anger or retaliate at times, and we can be enticed by our basest instincts to believe maybe the best way to protect ourselves from harm is to hurt others who we identify as “different from us” before they hurt us first.  It happens all the time when fear takes hold.

But we at TLC will not succumb to fear, on or off the court.

The best way to accomplish that, we have discovered, is to get to know someone who you perceive as different from you and ask them their story. Then tell them yours.

In this holiday season, on this day of peace, and in a world full of much fear, we at TLC look for ways of building trust. Holiday means “holy day”. We see every human being as sacred, and each person and religion has different ways to express what is sacred. But at the core of each is our common human dignity.

We will continue to practice sportsmanship, which we say is “treating others the way we want to be treated”; or, just maybe, “treating others the way they want to be treated”.  No matter what anyone says, no matter how we might be enticed, we remember two things.  Each one of us is capable of doing both unspeakable acts of cruelty and the bravest acts of kindness.  And, every, single, time, we have a choice.  No one else – and I mean no one – can make us choose one over the other.  As our theme song, Serenity, says, “When this world’s love meets this world’s hate/ Which one will win, I cannot say/ I can’t control what others do/  I only hope it’s love I choose.”

Maybe you can’t change the world. But you can change a world. Yours. And in doing so, just maybe you will tilt the earth slightly more towards peace.

We will continue to do our best to choose love over hate, trust over fear.  On and off the court.

Holiday greetings to you and your kin. Because you are our kin.


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