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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Broken Dreams

Photo: Sukh Chander
Aleksander "Sasha" Bajin had a dream. He wanted to be a professional tennis player. But when Bajin, a Serb who grew up in Munich, was making his way up the rankings in the 16s in Europe, his father died in a car accident and he lost his desire to practice. He took a shot at the ATP tour, but his career fizzled and his dream died.

Or so it seemed.

He hung around the game anyway. In May of 2007, he was working for a tennis organization in Munich when he heard that Serena Williams was in town and she needed a hitting partner. He responded and got the gig. And now you can read about him in the New York Times because he travels everywhere with Serena, doing anything he can to help her take her game to the next level.

He finds that his dreams have changed. "The priority No. 1 was always to be a pro player," Bajin said. "But if not as a pro player to be a hitting partner or a coach." And he says he's the happiest guy in the world now.

Real life can be brutal when it comes to dreams. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have dreams or pursue them. But the reality is, many of us aren't talented enough, or beautiful enough, or any number of other adjectives. So what should we do when we come face to face with that reality? Maybe we should do what Bajin did--participate in our dreams on a smaller scale simply for the love of the endeavor. Shattered dreams can morph into opportunities for new dreams.

When I was a child, I had aspirations of becoming a pro football player, and then I wanted to be a pro tennis player. I was never talented enough for either profession and my body size and shape certainly didn't help matters. But like Bajin, I found ways to stay involved with sports and today I interview professional athletes and write their stories. I get to go into locker rooms and talk to athletes on their cell phones and it feels like the greatest job in the world. But the cool thing is, I know there's more.

I'm still waiting for my big break, like Bajin got, and I know that the only way it'll ever come is if I put myself in position for it. But as I do so, I'm having a great time.


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