To my elder sister and my dear friend; two lovely people who advised me to write what follows-
Whenever I start giving myself a lot of airs because of some handful of my achievements, something certainly happens invariably which makes me return to my actual abode-earthly dust. I call these somethings ‘ego- rippers’.
This time, an ego-ripper came to me disguised in the form of a Badminton Tournament.
On 27th July, 2016 I won a gold in the District Badminton Tournament and qualified for the Regional Badminton Tournament. As I contemptibly looked down upon the silver medalist and those who hadn’t got any medal, I felt no less than the ace Indian Shuttler-Saina Nehwal.
Little did I know that exactly one month after, that Regional Tournament, which was going to be held in another State, would SERVE as an unpleasant eye-opener as I would be SMASHED down to the ground with all my ego TOSSED away and my head CLEARed of any vague self-importance while my mind sets itself into a VOLLEY of some deep deliberations.
On 27th August, I was beaten by 4-21 in the 1st qualifier round itself!
I don’t know what went wrong. Just last month I had purchased comfortable and quite pricy Li-Ning Badminton shoes. Just a few days before the tournament, I purchased new pairs of playing outfits. I made sure that my racquets were kept safely in their covers; not a speck of dust to be settled on them. Then I took a tedious 13-hours’ train journey to go to the state where the tournament was to be held. And all this only to be beaten by 4-21 in the qualifiers!
When I lost, I had lost it. I slumped in the chair next to my Physical Education teacher. Both of us didn’t utter a single word. He consoled me a little while later and left.
Soon I, all by myself, after that shattering defeat, had tears in my eyes. And those tears were not of dejection but of amazement. How could I have lost! The Ego which was even higher than the seventh heaven came crashing down right in front of my eyes and fell into a deep, dark abyss.
Gradually, I picked myself up.
I tried to ruminate over what unexpected had just happened. And I soon found out the reason. (Maybe I knew the answer beforehand but didn’t want to accept it. But now, when that reason stared me straight in the eye, I had no other way out but to silently accept it.)
I lacked practice.
Apparently, it dawned on me that it’s not the tools(comfortable shoes, new sportswear, best racquet) but the ability(practice) to use those tools deftly that makes one stand out.
Analogically, you can have the paint brushes once used by Picasso and the colour-palette once used by Leonardo da Vinci and still end up making the worst painting ever.
Here, I learnt two lessons-
One, never feed your Ego. Remember the place you rose from- the ground; you might need it sooner or later.
Two, practice makes a man, woman, girl ,boy, everyone perfect.
That was about what I learnt from my performance.
Having partially overcome my defeat, I observed others’ games.
For an onlooker, Badminton or any other game for that matter, is just a game. But, tarry and behold, a lot goes within it. You encounter every emotion on the court- joy, gloom, surprise, disgust, pain, disbelief-you just name it. There is a story behind every player and her every game.
Here you see a player losing the first game but wondrously recovering and winning the next two.
There you see the most well-known player trailing back terribly.
Here you see a player losing by 20-22.
There you see an injured winning the game.
Here you see someone losing her game but not moaning a word about it.
There you see a player winning with an unmatchable lead but still maintaining an indifferent expression throughout.
Here you see the coach cursing the player at every point lost but, in the very next moment, cheering her at every point won.
There you see a coach sitting as motionless as a rock throughout the game.
Here you see a player having a tiff with the umpire or the linesman.
There you see a player as cool as a cucumber even when the umpire or the linesman gives a wrong decision.
A lot, a lot goes on. There is something to learn from everyone’s story.
At the end of the day, there is just one victor.
But that in no way undermines the performances of the rest. Is it not more imperative to have struggled than to have won?
They say, ” Losing and winning is a part of a game.”
It is a part of Life.
These courts, these grounds and other playing areas are a symbolism of life.
The summary of life, so to say.