I know the question marks at the end of that statement are a little surprising,especially coming from someone who has spent the better part of their last 10 years playing competitive sports. But i guess no matter how much you love doing what you do, there can be some small tiny part of it that you wish was different.
Sports is something that has given me so much. I love being in a team, surrounded by people with fantastic skills and so much to learn from. I love the training involved, physical and mental. I love the single mindedness that the game demands, that every ball demands every ounce of concentration that you have,else you will see the ball disappear somewhere far, far away. This single mindedness allows me to be able to leave everything else behind when im on the top of my mark. Its a different kind of peace of mind. I love the challenge, the elation when the ball kisses the edge, the sound when it grips the pitch slightly when its released just right, the pats on the back when i've got the breakthrough.
So what's not to love?
Yes i know winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. But off late it got me thinking. Sports can never be win-win. Its always win-lose. I hate losing, but I accept defeats graciously and pick myself up and get back on the ground the next day. But every defeat is a dream dashed, loved ones let down, hours of hard work proven to be insufficient. Its an incredibly unsettling experience, especially if you have just lost a big match by a close margin.
Some of my friends work in a tough corporate environment, a dog-eat-dog world. I always felt that i would never want to have their jobs, where a step up the ladder means pushing someone down. And then i realised, i'm already there. Everytime i put in an hour at training, not only am I spending it for the benefit and glory of my team, but also spending it plotting the downfall of another. And suddenly I realised, this is a part of sports that I can't bring myself to feel good about. Where when someone has climbed a mountain and touched the peak, someone else, who is trying to climb the same mountain, has to be pushed off a ledge somewhere along the way.