You start the competition thinking ‘Hey this is just for fun. We are just going to have a good time. It will be a good day’. Typically the mindset of a ‘minnow’ or under dog team. But the moment you get by in the first round, you get to thinking ‘hey….we can win this’.
It doesn’t really matter what the sport or game is. It doesn’t matter who you are representing (I mean yea it’s awesome if you represent your country at whole other level but that should be a given). Sport and especially team based sports competitions always tend to bring out some sort of passion inside you. Doesn’t have to be a proper tournament and neither does it have to be in front a thousand fans…..or even a single one for that matter. The moment you step into the sport arena, it just seeps in. The sense of giving it your all and then some.
Every kick, shot, ball, hit, turn and throw is an inch closer to the end. Every wicket, goal, six, strike and ace is a stride closer to glory. Every dot, penalty given, wide or gutter ball a slip towards heartbreak.
So getting back to the under dog from where I started, it has to be an exhilaration when you reach the final. I participated in a bowling tournament yesterday as part of my office team. We started the day with a practice round and my thoughts being of simply having fun. When we got through the first cut I thought not bad. The second round for me became more of a personal settlement of dues. (we’ll not get into that). It was evident from our score and my personal best being set 2nd time during this day that the tournament was going to be a long one for us. The moment the reigning champions had been eliminated in that 2nd cut we were in the semis. That changed the mind set. That just kicked the competition instinct into high gear. It went from being just a fun day to focus and adneralin. From making just the cut to a downright shoot out between the two teams. One by one the frames were bowled, the comfortable start transformed into a close finish. The sweat beads gathered……but the under dogs did it. We beat last years runners up and went were in the final. We were all thinking we could win this. Our seniors made the normal ‘ we have achieved more then anyone expected ….. Just have fun guys…’ . But heck, we were beyond that now and we had to win. It started in almost hollywoodish fashion when I made a strike in the first frame. And just as much in dramatic hollywoodish fashion the rest of the game was tense. With a strike here and near miss there the sweat beads were coming fast, the nail biting had begun. The last round of frames had begun. Having tried our best to keep up as much as possible, we were just a little behind. I was up to start our team’s last turns. The 10th frame. A strike would mean two more opportunities. Heck I hit 3 strikes…..the euphoria was amazing. The opponents felt a little dumbstruck and very very concerned. Their first guy couldn’t even get the spare. Our second team mate got the strike and two more shots as well. More concern on the other side. Increase in euphoric chatter on ours. He went to roll the second ball, amidst silence. And bam, just like that he missed the strike by one and as luck would have it his second found the gutter instead of the pin. Sadly the opponents to it from there. But what a day. What a game. What a tournament. We played from 11 in the morning till 6 in the evening with a lunch break in between of a couple of hours. All teams in the semis had started to feel the strain on the muscles by then. Two of our players were carrying a strain in the semi, I was the third during the final. But we gave it our all and played like we were part of some bigger league, like this tournament meant some bigger win. We played with the injury, with the pain sprays applied, beyond the call of …. well our sporting duty so to speak. We didn’t win the tournament but finishing runners up was amazing as well. More then our expectations at the beginning of the day.
Thats why I love playing team sports, and love watching them. But again, playing is just another level. Trust me.