Sunday, July 7, 2013

Breakfast with Wimbledon, A Breakfast of Champions

I woke up this morning ready for "Breakfast with Wimbledon." Since I was a teenager, I have set my alarm for the Sunday match up of the men's finalists. No strawberries and cream or all-white ware in my home, but the third and perhaps most prestigious of the Grand Slam tourneys is a royal treat (pun intended).
Growing up, NBC had the rights to air Wimbledon which was highlighted by hosts Dick Enberg and Bud Collins.  As someone who grew up fond of Wheaties' as the "Breakfast of Champions," I always thought NBC's marketing campaign was a good one. Indeed, breakfast with Wimbledon had to be the most important meal of the day.  

And yet, a friend recently asked me "What meal isn't important?" Even though breakfast "breaks the fast" from sun down to sun rise, doesn't every meal play a part in keeping us strong, hydrated, fit and focused?  If "food is fuel," is breakfast really that much more high octane than the others?  Yes and no.

When I eat a healthy breakfast--one chalk full of fiber (bran flakes?), antioxidants (blueberries), calcium (milk) I feel as though I am ready to take on the day--be it Monday or Friday!  I can creatively respond to the challenges that come my way.  I stand a little taller and the world looks a little brighter. Yes, all this is made possible by a fortified breakfast (and a good night's sleep).  Let me be honest, as much as I adore the donut, it holds no weight to oatmeal with raspberries and almond milk--even when it's an apple fritter or powered up with a hot cup of Joe!

As much as I love breakfast--and I do--it's important because it's one of many indicators  that reveal how we start our day is what we should be intentional about.  Forgetting to eat it is leaving the tank empty.  Our brains and our bodies know the difference.  

By way of another example, the holiest men and women I know begin their day with prayer. They set aside time in the morning to sit with God.  Essentially, they are cultivating the most important, fundamental relationship in our lives--one with the Lord. Taking but five, ten or 60 minutes when the day is off and running can be incredibly challenging, but I have heard all of them share that they couldn't accomplish all that the day requires without doing so.   

Times in my life when I have been most committed to prayer in the morning, I have felt the difference.  I know that no matter how busy the day gets, I have already prayed for my loved ones, thought about what might need to be reconciled and thanked God for another day.

The same is true with morning workouts.  As a collegiate rower, everyone wants to know how I handled the morning practice.  The 4:30 a.m. alarm, was never easy and yet nothing beat the feeling of coming off the water as the sun was rising and going with my teammates to South Dining Hall for a healthy breakfast.
Or another example was born out of one of my Lenten disciplines.  I gave up listening to music while running and gained time for prayer and reflection.  I love it when my schedule permits me to run in the morning.  It is a tremendous gift--time with the Lord and time to pound the pavement.  I strongly recommend it!

Coming back full circle, this year's Breakfast with Wimbledon left me energized and inspired by Andy Murray's performance.  Does any athlete look more high energy and fit than Novak Djokovic?  As he was gaining momentum in the third set, Murray--already up two sets to none--found something inside of him that did not quit.  He returned every winner, drop shot and overhead smash that Djokovic served.  His concentration and focus were akin to mine after the Olympic Club cafe's Green Monster smoothie (kidding).  

And yet, my favorite part of the 127th All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club's final match was when Murray dedicated the win to his coach Ivan Lendl, who never completed that feat.  Lendl lost to my favorite player Pat Cash (so I'm shedding no tears on this one).  
In "Murray hails Lendl for inspirting Wimbledon glory" Murray said “I just think for him, obviously ideally he would have won it himself, but I think this was the next best thing for him. I’m saying it seriously. He believed in me when a lot of people didn’t. He stuck by me through some tough losses the last couple of years. He’s been very patient with me. I’m just happy I managed to do it for him.” 

Murray was playing for many people--his homeland, his mum, the Dublane school community, and yet the relationship of coach and athlete was today's highlight.  It gave me plenty to think and pray about--Who do I dedicate accomplishments in my life to?  What do I want my athlete's to achieve?  Who has been patient with me?  Who do I need to be patient with?  What will make my athletes happy?

Good questions to chew on at breakfast, during prayer or while exercising. Have a great morning! Enjoy!

Photo Credits
Murray Wins
ML Retton
Breakfast at Wimbledon
Murray Wins

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