A time for titans


Virat Kohli had once said that he sees himself as more of a Cristiano Ronaldo than a Lionel Messi. According to him “Messi is a freak (genius) but this guy (Ronaldo) is giving him a run for his money because of his hard work”. While this could be a corollary to the talent vs. hard work debate it points to a trend that has gone beyond the truism it has come to represent.

The modern day sportsman is a robust combination of talent and colossal refinement, assiduously done by putting those hard yards in the gym and further hours of analysis and study. Sporting talent is more often than not defined as the natural advantage that a person possesses because of certain traits. It could be the unique ability to play a ball late, thus giving the player those crucial extra micro seconds, or it could be the special skill of creating openings where apparently none exist. But the phenomenal success of certain sportsmen in recent history like Novak Djokovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virat Kohli, arguably labeled less gifted than a Roger Federer, Lionel Messi or a Rohit Sharma respectively amply demonstrates how far their preternatural prowess is a result of their barrier breaking training schedule by taking preparatory techniques to a stratospheric level.

This wonderful talent is indicative of one more crucial factor the sheer will to succeed. Virat’s desire to win couldn’t be more apparent, Similarly the indefatigable Ronaldo and the Djoker display identical attributes … a zen-like focus and the incredible hunger to succeed. Ronaldo’s magical 3 goal burst against Sweden to singlehandedly ensure Portugal’s qualification for the world cup and Novak’s incredible ‘back from the brink’ victory against Nadal in the finals of the Australian Open in 2012 would possibly find few parallels because of the ‘genius at work’. Their triumphs apart from being heroic are a celebration of the spirit of winners, of the epic ‘come from behind’ victories, which become a part of folklore. What is even more significant is that these players are not automatons, which is a real danger when the obsession with perfecting the craft is taken to ridiculous levels.

The personality of these superstars, their passion for the game also makes them human and identifiable. The outbursts, the odd indiscretion have frequently polarized opinions and that has added a certain character to the sporting cosmos. But the ability to transform and put everything behind them when they walk onto the ground and take centerstage with their scintillating skills defines their superability. There was an era in the late 90s and the early 2000s when players like Jim Courier and Thomas Muster and the Scandinavian footballing nations began to define the physical nature of sport with less emphasis on skill. Their success borne out of grit, gumption and determination was not a pretty sight even as their stoic celebrations ensured that their followers did not extend beyond their national boundaries.

This culminated in the victory of Greece in the UEFA Euro 2004, attributed to their dour defensive play. The marketability of the sport suffers in the absence of genuine stars to blitz in to new territories and broaden the fanbase. The success of this new breed of stars who have taken the concept of fitness to a different level while also foraying into new frontiers of finesse has arrested the trend. The fanbase of this superplayer transcends boundaries and this augurs well for the health of the world of sports and the emergence of the future star. The complete package that the superplayer represents in terms of the diet and practice regimen, the attitude and of course the skill set is worth emulating as it presents a universal formula for success.

This makes the sportsman aspire to a more well-rounded version of himself as the desire to excel extends in all directions and in all spheres.

Article By : Shantanu Sharma 

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