[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

For the love of learning a new sport

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

If I could, I would have picked up Squash. Emerging from what many would call mid-life crisis – a phase of life when you know you got to be doing something else, but know nothing more about what that else is – I recently picked up a less intense, but equally addictive sport, Tennis.

Who doesn't get inspired by that?

I don’t recall ever seeing a Tennis court growing up in India. Yet, I religiously read The Hindu’s SportStar magazine and go for war with my brother to own the center page blow up of Boris Becker. Over the years, I generally watched all the grand-slam finals – just for the love of Tennis and the kick of its corner to corner, head-turning rallies. Not to mention the compelling changes in the way the game is played these days – thanks to Federer, Nadal and now, Djoikovich.

Last fall, the dormant Becker in me finally decided to show up. At 36, I committed to learning yet another sport. This idea was certainly not new to me. I taught myself to roller-blade when I was 24 and to snowboard when I was 26! But I haven’t played an active, outdoor, athletic sport since high-school where I made a vain attempt to earn a spot in the district field hockey team. So this time I was absolutely ecstatic signing up for beginner lessons at the Warren Racquet Club – I now have one more way to get my receding HDL cholesterol back up! Besides, one of my best friends who has been playing for a few years now kept reminding me that once you start playing Tennis, you won’t give it up for life. I knew exactly what that means now that I meet tennis partners who must be in their 70s and even 80s. Let’s not go into the details of how many of these older buddies kick me around the court.

Over the last few months, this new commitment has taught me the big difference between knowing and doing. I knew the rules of the game, have seen the best shots in slow motion, have mercilessly critiqued the world’s best players for playing up to their potential, have read best of the articles on tennis for over a decade. But…that’s a big fat BUT, I could not hit the ball into the court for many many days.

With help from the left-over athlete in me spurred by a relentless desire to improve, I have upped the game to the point where I not only get the balls into the court, I even pull a few winners occasionally. I have also taken bold step to sign up for the USTA 3.0 Adults League – I am in Business!

I read somewhere that Life is simply a combination of keys and locks. All one must try is to match the right key with the right lock, then, satisfaction and happiness prevails.

You might wonder why I started off with Squash then? I don’t exactly know. Perhaps, it will remain the greatest sport I never played but read everything about since I am just about halfway done with reading how Trinity College’s squash team continues to remain at the top of the college squash circuit [Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear].

Try try touch the sky! India

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This Saturday may be Sachin's most precious day...

Today, India stole from the hands of Pakistan a well-deserved win against a roaring crowd from great country side of Punjab. On a day like this, the people of India love their cricket team to death. (On other occasions of failure, the same players get virtually hunted and verbally beaten, getting psychologically killed!)

Indeed, today was a moment of pride and honor for players and the whole nation. Every single player in the team worked hard for this moment and they won’t go to sleep tonite until they celebrate the heck out of their souls. A world cup Semi Finals is perhaps harder than Finals – more so because it hurts so much to get this far and not make it to Finals. In some sense, the teams fought not to win but for not to lose. You will shed your last pint of blood to escape going through what went on between the ears of Afridi and Aktar in the last few balls of the match.

Reclaim lost legacy and nail it!

In the first innings, the Indian players got burned down by Pak’s impeccable bowling. Yet, the team India rose out of the ashes to stage a spectacular show under the lights.

The Team India rarely gets their act together on a consistent basis. The last two matches will likely go down in history books as great cricket leading up to a world cup finals.

What’s remaining on Saturday is for Team India to show that it can cough up fire out of ash to nail its lost legacy as the world’s best cricket team in the world. Sachin Tendulkar will bet his entire fortune to be frozen in that moment through eternity.

A billion fans will be holding up our torches so the eleven tigers can scale through the darkest, farthest part of the heaven to kill the roaring lions. Go Team India Go! Try try and touch the sky!