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I hadn’t planned to be awake this morning at 3:30. I’m a light sleeper, and noise in the neighborhood convinced me I had overslept. By the time I had boiled water for coffee and checked my computer, I realized it was much earlier than I thought.

The Roger Federer-Milos Raonic Wimbledon semifinal was still one set apiece by the time I finished my first cup. Men’s matches at the four major championships are played best of five sets, so I took care of light chores without waking my family. It’s funny, but I love moving around in the dark.

By the time I settled in with my third cup of coffee in front of the television, Federer was either going to win the match in four sets or Raonic was going to tie it at two apiece. I wondered if my husband or daughter, still asleep, heard me gasp. Both players were hitting such spectacular shots late in the fourth set that I thought, “Well, that’s it. This is the moment that will define the match.” For Federer, going after his 18th major championship, and for Raonic, trying to win his first, the moment could also define so much more.

This is why I love tennis. Whether it’s best of three or best of five sets, you sometimes recognize those moments right away — either watching a match or playing one yourself.

Isn’t that true in life as well? I still remember when I wrote my first poem (I was in second grade), when as a teenager I promised my grandfather that I would always keep the German language as part of my life, when I watched my first Wimbledon. Those are moments that define your life. You know them as much as you know your love for a parent. You don’t question them, overanalzye them, second-guess them. They stay with you forever and are sacred.

I hope my daughter will tell me about those moments in her life. There is so much ahead. I don’t want to rush anything, but I smile thinking about those times when something clicks for her as if it were always meant to be.

Postscript: Milos won the match to reach the Wimbledon final.

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