Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leander Paes - An Unsung Sports Icon !

Best Blog Tips
A nation starved of Icons with whom the youth of country can relate to, fortunately I am happy about the unsung 'ness' which real, worthy Icons face. Leander Paes is one of them.

He become the first Indian to win under 18 Wimbledon tennis tournament. Later on he become first Indians to win a medal in individual sports category in Olympics, by winning much coveted Bronze medal in Single's category 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I remember watching him play against Andre Agassi with so much passion and zeal in that awesome semi-final. Aggassi was in top form then and though he won the match, the world saw what a true fighter Leander was and will remain.  Fortunately Abhinav Bindra won a Olympic Gold for us later on. These 2 medals still remains our cherished and only Olympic medals in any individual sports.

Leander Paes chose to focus on his game, his fitness and stayed away from media, especially the Television advertising. His focus and commitment paid of well as he went on to become one of the most successful Doubles Tennis player of the world. Leander had the opportunity to rake in multi-million dollars by endorsing several brands, attending award functions or by working in movies etc. However he seems to be contend with the prize money and chose to rather use his time to practice, play and win more games, tournaments, one after the other without making any headlines ever except for his achievements in sports.

What I have learned from Leander is that one can remain focused on his work and yet can earn good money, bring name and fame for the nation and for himself. I learned that its not necessary that people around you and the masses will appreciate you for your good work but still you can do what you like and excel at it.

It amuses me that despite of having such a vast pool of raw talent, we as a nation is not able to do much at truly international level ( and I dont think Common Wealth Games are truly international, with all due respect). Once again, who's to be blamed at. System? Government has done absolutely nothing to develop decent sporting infrastructure at the grass-root level. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to Indian cricket if  exceptional players like Kapil Dev, Mohindar Amarnath and Gavaskar never happened to India. The first and second generation of Indian cricketers developed on their own, drawing inspiration from one another, without any support from government or authorities. If 1983 never happened perhaps 2011 might not have happened either.

The nation became obsessed with Cricket (a sport which is played by practically 8 countries of the world) because we had no other option. Period.

Whatever Leander Paes achieved is exceptional. He achieved it on its own. Our media never cared to write too much about him and that actually worked to his advantage. Because he achieved everything on his own, his success cant be easily replicated and scaled to develop more committed, hard working players like him.

In past 5 years, Cricket grew big because Corporate World started riding on the back of Crickets to promote their brands. Leander Paes is exceptional and not everybody can be like him. So several small town boys, who became popular overnight started riding the euphoria on the back and shoulders of some exceptional 3rd generation players such as Sachin, Kumble, Dravid. The sheer number of talented cricketers available increased, because the money involved, the glamour, name and fame increased all of a sudden, especially after the IPL booom !

Leander Paes personified consistency, he never stopped just because he won an Olympic medal or led India to World Group in Davis Cup.

Sports is not just about entertainment and business as it seems to be reduced to currently in India. Sports is celebration of human spirit and raw capabilities. Technology has made our lives comfortable and will continue to do so. Sports field is where we realize that like other animals, we too are made of flesh and veins. Our blood also boils and heart can afford to skip few beats. When a sportsmen is in a field, doing what he's supposed to be doing, nothing matters except him. No matter how much money is riding on his back nothing but only his performance can raise him above the rest, amidst the best.

We as a nation definitely can do much much better then what we currently think of. Campaigns run by individuals, organizations such Olympic Gold Quest and NDTV Marks for Sports have raised awareness, provided some ray of hope to other sportsmen and women to pursue their passion, learn and excel in sport of their choice.

Still lot more is required, not just from government but from each and every parent. Lets not stop our kids from becoming Saina Nehwal or Leander Paes of tomorrow !

Friday, January 06, 2012

At last First !!

Best Blog Tips
After a log hiatus, I came first !

Back in school days, when everybody clamored to grab the top spot, I was happy with top 5 and sometimes even top 10.  I had my own reasons then.Only later I realized that grades, marks and rankings do matter and it hurts the most, when you have everything else except those which matters.

Some wise man wrote this long ago- Success is Counted sweetest by those who never succeed !!

Definitely applicable to me. No lies, have never achieved anything exceptional, never came first but this time it was different. It was bound to happen someday and so it happened today, as if it was a part of a great plan. Whatever happens, happen for good, that's how my parents would console me, whenever I was not first. And so over years, I started feeling pity, not for me, but for them, those at the help of things, for their loneliness.

Things were about change. Something happened which never happened before and so finally I kissed the moment of glory. I made sure that I enjoy my loneliness to the full. Soon I realized what all I was missing by dismissing the desire and thus the situation of being at the top. When you reach the top, even in your own world , suddenly the people in that world start seeing and treating you differently. But the  fun does not last long. Either I had to do anything under the Sun to retain my lone spot or someone else will do something and soon my charm and karishma will vanish.

A rush of blood, dilapidating pupils and my moments of joy and glory were snatched away from me. I was helpless, I could have done few things, but I could sense the outcome, so I decided to save my energy. Once again I became the ordinary me, which I always deserved to be.

Damm it, I was last and so he denied the admission because it was overflowing with homo-sapiens. I was left with no other choice but to wait for the next Bus. Within fraction of seconds tens and almost hundreds of people started queuing behind me from nowhere.

Monday, January 02, 2012