When everyone is cheering against you

September 25, 2017 | 29 comments

How do you respond when most people around you want you to fail at what you’re doing?

I had a chance to find out at a recent USTA Sectionals tennis tournament I played in with my USTA Mixed 40+ team.

It was a high stakes tournament, for the winning team would advance to Nationals, which is a big deal for USTA tennis players. It’s the highest level possible to attain.

I was on court with my mixed partner playing what appeared to be a “do or die” match. Of the three teams on court, one of my teams had won, but the other was getting crushed in their first set. If my partner and I won, my team advanced. If we lost, another team in our flight would advance, everyone figured.

The team hoping to advance was local, and the viewing platform, which was adjacent to our court elevated 15 feet above our heads, and open air, was jammed with their team members and supporters watching in suspense to see the outcome of our match. My wife and 2 team members were the lone supporters of me and my partner.

While on court, if our opponents won a point, the arena would erupt with cheers and elation. If my partner and I won a point, I could hear my wife clapping “up there” somewhere amidst the crowd of spectators. The match was intense, super close and demanding everything we had to give.

I double faulted on a critical deuce point (bad idea!). A loud male “Yay!” flung out of the viewing stands. It was a surprise to hear for cheering for another’s failure is not standard etiquette in tennis. But the desire of this opposing team to see us lose was so intense, it erupted anyway. I looked up at the stands and smiled, held no resentment, and just loved the guy who vocalized his intent to see me fail. He turned away in embarrassment and left the viewing area.

I was thoroughly enjoying the match. I did not feel out-numbered by all the people cheering against us. To me, it didn’t make any difference if 2 million people wanted to see us lose. It was irrelevant. All that mattered was me living true to my reflection of divine Love. My “competitor,” was not the opponents across the net or the hopeful team in the viewing stands. It was fear, distraction and doubt, and I could keep those out of my thought by knowing God’s presence on the court giving me all the inspiration, guidance, wisdom and ability I needed to excel at what I was doing. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? (Romans 8:31, NLT), Paul reminded us. No other person, or large group of people, could keep me from knowing and reflecting God’s presence.

We won the match, barely, and the other teams rooting against us were congratulatory and very gracious afterward. It was all healthy vigorous competition, but more than anything, I was grateful to realize that Love had won the day. It never was “us versus them.” It was all about reflecting God’s presence and not letting any fear, doubts or worries get in the way.

In the end, my team advanced to Nationals, which we’ll play in November in Mobile, Alabama. It is without doubt the highlight of my tennis life, and my team is super excited about going, but I pray to keep my perspective that winning is not about the score. It’s about the spirituality one gains and expresses while competing.

When your priority is to express God, you’re always on the winning side and no opposition can hold you back.

29 thoughts on “When everyone is cheering against you”

  1. Loved this humble sharing that was fillllled with spiritual strength, trust in God and success as reflection…He performs, I simply reflect and express.

  2. Just being in the presence of God is a win. I truly enjoyed you experience it is the central theme of real sportsmanship, where everyone puts forth their best efforts, skill and knowledge celebrating the gifts of God reflected in the doing, the performance of life. Thank you Evan for this beautiful example of how we should do.

  3. Thank you Evan and congratulations! Wow, what fun, you will love it. Love the fact that you did not get rattled at the crowd tactics. And, thank you for the reminder regarding competition, that rays of light can never really “compete” with one another as they have the same Source.

  4. Dear Evan, thanks so much for sharing this. Last week’s readings about Reality really focused on this idea. “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” I love that idea, and your further explanation about who the enemy really is. Congratulations on your advancement!

  5. Go Evan! Congrats on the win and on never losing your focus of expressing God’s qualities and joy of playing the game

  6. Congratulations, Evan–not just for winning the tournament, but especially for your spiritual clarity and magnanimous love for your so-called “opponents”! You are a shining example of the true spirit (Spirit!!).

  7. Thank you Evan for this healing by the “three great verities”: Spirit, i.e. God, “possessing all power, filling all space, constituting all Science,” and all the while contradicting all hurt.

    Your tennis games bring about beautiful truths for spectators to learn and practice!

  8. I echo the other comments, and commend your wife, too, for expressing her true self freely and lovingly amidst a crowd of apparent opposition. Way to go, Mehlenbachers! Have a great time in Alabama.

  9. Thanks, Evan, for sharing your wonderful experience, and especially the truths that guided you. Love is the only power, for sure, and we need not fear those who “war’ against us. Thanks!

  10. Congratulations Evan! Have a great time in Alabama! I love the idea that your neighbor gently learned that his behavior was not rewarded. And, that your hard work and sportsmanship was rewarded!

  11. Hearty congratulations, dear Evan, on this great win leading onward to the next step on the tennis ladder: and most of all, on the clear loving attitude you were able to maintain.

    I’ve just listened to today’s Daily Lift by Lizzie Witney, entitled Our True Source of Happiness, and heard a correlation between her thoughts, and yours on this occasion, since both reflected Jesus’ directions in the Sermon on the Mount.


  12. Congratulations Evan. In tough situations, I always tell myself, I am here to express, not to impress. I find that always takes the pressure off.

  13. As always, Evan, you’re teaching by living the Truth! The man in the stand was so blessed by your gracious response and likely healed of false ego.
    I would love to go to Alabama to cheer you all on!!

  14. What a wonderful day you had while reflecting and expressing God’s presence! I remind myself often to just “Let” God be! We can come to realize every situation to be harmonious (and be free of doubt) when taping into the fact that He is control and harmoniously governing our every action.

    Congrats on this fine example and for sharing with others.

  15. Evan, thank you for this lesson, so applicable to many areas of our experience: “It was fear, distraction and doubt, and I could keep those out of my thought by knowing God’s presence on the court giving me all the inspiration, guidance, wisdom and ability I needed to excel at what I was doing.” Will be anxious to hear about the November maatch!a

    Thanks to all responders. Scott, I loved your response in particular: ” In tough situations, I always tell myself, I am here to express, not to impress. I find that always takes the pressure off.”

  16. Thank you. An important lesson to remember. I was thinking of all the times it seems it is an us against them situation. Not when God is present.

  17. Hi Evan and all fellow commentors.

    The expression “impress” can also mean a positive word.
    I am very impressed by this so very specially wonderful
    and loving SpiritView of today.

    Thank you, dear Evan for sharing your so healing testimony with us all.
    It is also a great great lesson! I love your last truth thought:
    “When our priority is to express God, we are always on the winning side and no opposition can hold us back”

    Also love your very kind foto with you three teams – and of course heartyly congratulation 🙂

  18. I loved the story and all the wonderful above expressions. With the great turmoil ongoing re: pro football ( to kneel or not to kneel) and unpleasantness verbally expressed on both sides, I am suddenly reminded that instead of being dismayed I must turn immediately to God in prayer. My thought must clear the atmosphere of ugliness from two opposing sides of thought and immediately put everyone under God’s loving, impartial control. Forget sides, who is right? who is wrong? and pray that God’s light of Divine Love operates everywhere. That light cannot be turned off and Love can fill a football field with His tender neutral guidance just as He did on the tennis court. God truly is everywhere. We have to acknowledge that and know it is not missing in all fields of sport. God is always in control, not mortal minds. God loves each one of His children. Let us pray to see that reflected everywhere.

  19. Dear Evan,

    Please don’t bother with this if it takes more than a couple minutes of your time. I know you’re busy.

    Somewhere in S&H, Mrs. Eddy says that there is more she can tell her students about the future, but she won’t, because she feels it would be too much to bear at this time What do you think she might be referring to? At any rate, do you know the page where this pronouncement can be found? I have Concord, but I still can’t find it after many tries.


    John Beebout

    1. John,

      Jesus is the one who said what you are referring to:

      John 16:12, 13
      I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

      He was referring to the coming of Christian Science, which would occur 2 centuries later.

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