Friday, December 2, 2011

When No One Deserved to Take a Smaller trophy

Everyone I met that day gave me the same look. ‘You stand no chance today’ look. They had good reason to do so. The opposition was faster, stronger, and fitter.

It was a fairly small, insignificant local badminton tournament. For us, teenagers. I had reached the final, which in itself was a bit surprising. Only two days back, I was facing elimination in the quarter finals against a more skillful player. I only won, because, he got tired very soon. I played very erratically in the semi finals too. Against a much taller player. I won, again, because, he didn’t know how to use it. The other finalist, on the other hand, had steamrolled everyone on his route to finals. To worsen matter, it seemed to me, that everyone on that day had come to see me properly and duly thumped.  

The only people in my box were, my papa and brother. The first set began. And it ended in a flash. It wasn’t a surprise for anyone. I was, to say the least, annihilated. My movements were slow. My judgments were wrong. Smashes weak. Placements non-existent. As I sat in the chair in the break, I saw papa standing by my side. He didn’t say anything. Or may be he did, just by looking at me. Fight.

We came back on court. Mind and body started to work in sync. I found what I was looking through the whole tournament. Rhythm. I was a different person. I won a closely fought 2nd set. Surely, this must be an aberration, others thought. OR NOT. I won the 3rd set as well. By an even bigger margin. We were both tired. As we sat in the break, Papa looked at me again. That’s more like it. The match was ON. We started the 4th set. The tables turned again as he gathered himself and won, once again, a closely fought set. Everything had boiled down to the decider. The 5th set.

No one expected the match to last this long. But it did. No one expected it to stretch to 5th set. But it did. No one expected me to be still standing. But I was. We both gathered our last ounces of energy and played a match worthy of a final. Every point was fiercely fought. The two teenagers were diving all over the court, and every time, the spectator cheered or clapped, our energy level got up. No one was supporting anyone. They were supporting both of us. They were cheering the game. Ever saw a game, where you thought, no one deserved to lose? When you thought no one deserved to take a smaller trophy? *

Winning and Losing fades into the background. What remains is, Pure Sweat. Honest Effort. A bruised elbow. A bleeding knee. Panting of the heart. In the end nothing mattered. We both were equally breathless. And we both had a sleepless night, as we kept playing the match in our heads over and over again.

*At that time, I admit, I was playing to win, and these thoughts come, when I see things from the outside.

By the way, I lost.I am sure, If I would have won, this post would not have come. :P


  1. :)

    A sport can truly be enjoyed when it is played to be your best. Despite the tire, the heat, the competition.
    I'm glad you felt the way you did and I'm sure this post would have been written irrespective of your loss or win.

    Its all in the moment. All in that one moment.


  2. that's true, retrospection makes us look at things differently - you see the sweat, the hurt knee, the sincere efforts even though at the moment winning was all there was on your mind & rightly so too

    i liked that line "no one was supporting anyone. they were supporting both of us" can imagine how exhilarating it must have been for you guys

    btw, can u pls remove the word verification for comments?

  3. awesome .. i love the fact that you based your strength on your dads words, we always need that aggressive spark that sets us going in whatever you do, that alone leads us to achieve the best..

    and the best thing is when everyone feels thatyou wdnt be able to do ity, ansd you do it :) .. yea (clap clap), i loved the post

  4. they do say .. that the one who wins , they have no clue what WINNING means .. its the one who has lost who knows the reality of that win ..

    Excellent and DAD's WOW :)

    well done

  5. Very well narrated. Though not a sportperson , I still have found myself contemplating positive notions about the spirit behind a competition only when I am on the losing end. Winning, its just time for revelry. My losses have made me learn more, humbled me.
    This post helped me revisit those times, those thoughts once again. Thanks!

  6. I can see the real winner in you. That trophy is just a manifestation of the actual success. I liked the fact that no one thought that you could reach there yet, you did and fought till the end with elan. Cheers!!

  7. Hehe, great post!
    Thinking of all the blood I had in my mouth in my sports career, and how many goals I`ve scored in my dreams.

    Happy weekend:-)

  8. A perfect example of "It's not how you win the game but how you play it." :)

    The best games are indeed the ones 'insert the very apt title of this post here' :) Imagine being in the Olympics and winning that gold medal simply due to the fact that the silver medalist had an injury, robbing her/himself of placing first. The bronze competitor was favored to win the gold but had a very rare, bad performance which shocked the world. Would that make the victory sweet? I think not and you covered this train of thought beautifully in your awesome story :)

    I loved how you had 'a time out' after the first disastrous set and came back fighting with "mind and body working in sync". Do you wonder if that transformation would have occurred if your father's countenance didn't scream, "Fight!" ? :)

    "They were supporting both of us. They were cheering the game." Yay! This is awesome and what makes this real life story so victoriously sweet even if you didn't take home the trophy! You were already a winner because you gave it your all plus some :)

    A great read, Kunal! Thanks for sharing with us and I hope your weekend is just as grand as this post :)

  9. I love this post.. firstly because of the sport!! I have been playing game for past eleven years maybe. I understand that emotion when you stand on the court and you are getting thrashed. I have just started playing the game again. I am doing so horribly. Losing every game, getting tired so fast. But it doesn't matter...

    You post just reinforced that thought. Thanks for sharing. Glad to know.

  10. Everyone wants to win whether be it a sport or in the work we do. All that matters is how we deal if not won, it should never leave us distraught.

    the after effects of the match on you is quite appreciable...and the support of our family that's the real strength.

  11. Really? Finals???

    Nice one. Uncle did it :)

    As far as I have known you, you have always been like this. This was probably the starting point.

    By the way, do you have a post where you can show us how you celebrate your wins? Hahaha... Think "Black Rangers"

  12. "Winning and Losing fades into the background. What remains is, Pure Sweat. Honest Effort. A bruised elbow. A bleeding knee. Panting of the heart...... And we both had a sleepless night, as we kept playing the match in our heads over and over again"
    ...I can see the nuances of a 'smaller trophy' lose its significance in the heat of such action.

    What a description!What a perspective! What a 'you'! :D :)

    Great read!

  13. Third last paragraph is so honest. Reflects the state of mind and heart. When you know you have put your 100%, winning doesn't matter much.

  14. awesome....loved your's not loosing, it's how you loose it that matters...well done :)

  15. At first I thought I was reading a piece of fiction.. :)

    the part when I realized the truth was in the last line.. this is what happens to be engrossed in the world of fiction!

    anyway.. the spirt as u said is that which matters and some strength from people who believe in u.. like ur dads silent support..

  16. Things change even when you retrospect, even when you look at them again. A strange thing ..
    And I loved how there was this connection of your father in this one too.
    I don't indulge in sports, any at all but I love the attachment that surfaced with the reader hither .. As Express said, its all in the moment! I loved the adrenaline rush I felt

  17. I agree with what Saur has said...loved the honesty that I cud feel in the post.

  18. :) I like the underdogs to win...yeah on the hindsight, this post is worth the loss :)

    I have rarely won TT matches, I mostly lose because of my attitude and too much negativity.....

    In real life though, I have won against the ones who thought I am not here to stay :) Feels good..

  19. I never heard this story from you yet... Something fishy anyways written with whole heart and needs a appreciation.

    As I always say, winning and loosing are part of game. There are 2 kind of people, one who never lose i.e who never played and others played with heart, loved and learnt the game better which matter most.

    I know which is your category...

    Offcourse your Dad did his part but I am proud of you!!
    And you won in our hearts :)

  21. being a basketball player, i can understand how it feels to face the situation you narrated! keep playing(and writing too)...!

  22. Express:

    Agreed. :)
    When something is done just for the love of it, Winning and losing is immaterial. :)

  23. Sujatha:

    In the heat of the moment, all we concentrate is on the, next moment, next point. The mind has to blank out everything in order to concentrate. And retrospection asks us questions of ourselves, which we didn't know existed.

    Word Verification has been removed. I wasn't aware it is present. I thought, I had removed it before. :P

  24. Menachery:

    He is a great support. Always.
    I am a part of him. In more ways than one. :)

  25. Bikramjit:

    Very well said. And I agree. :)


    Thank You :)


    Yes. A different feeling altogether. :P

  26. Red Handed:

    Thank You


    Absolutely :)


    Yes. Sub. I agree. :)


    Me too! :P
    Thank You.


    Happy, that you could relate. :)
    Thank you.

  27. Soumya:

    Thank you for your insightful comment. Yes..I do agree that...losses make us stronger. May be...there is nothing called losing after all! :P

  28. Sh@s:

    I don't know what a real winner is. :P
    One who can lose graciously and take lesson in it? :)
    May be..may be not.. :P

  29. Princess Fiona:

    Thank you for lovely comment! :)
    I have won matches against the same opponent, but I remember this match very well..and perhaps due to the effort and intensity present..

    It was the way my dad was not that I wasn't fighting before. But, nothing was working...and after the break, I suddenly got new energy and vigor.

    I did gave it my all! :P

  30. Sameera:

    Can't live without it.
    May be you should play against me. You will end your losing streak... :P
    Good Luck :)

  31. Beyond Horizon:

    There is a lesson even in being distraught! :P

    Winning is important...However, there are a few things...which come above that. :)

  32. Psycho:

    You know me better! :P
    You were in black rangers you know... haha :D

    And yes..finals. Really :)

    I am a good player. Chidi can vouch for that. :P

  33. A Grain of Sand -

    Its 'Me' all right. :)
    Thank you. :D

  34. KP:

    I haven't written a fiction in years. May be I should write... :P

    Thank you. :)


    Having someone in your box, is a great support. Knowing that someone is there, unconditionally who wants you to be the best that you can be. I relived the match while writing. :D

  35. Chintan:


    We can play a TT match. :)
    Winning against the ones who thought I am not here to stay...Feels really really good. :D


    Our matches were legendary too... in NGV..:)
    We will have to play see..if you have improved...haha :P

  36. A loud applause for the writer and the fighter.

    Short, crisp lines and a match played like a true hero.

  37. Real nice post. The way you described the game, it got me excited. Nice job, keep it up, in writing and in games too. Thumbs up.