In sports, like in life, one day you need to move out of the arc lights. That day is defined by your mind. Physical injury and the management of sport is just one aspect. But the mind, till it ventures to switch off, the body does not give in.
Andre Agassi explained this in his autobiography “Open”. The frailty of the body is far superceded by the excellence of mind. His last Wimbledon was an excellent case in point. The mind needed another run at the championship. The body deigned to deliver. In spite of a daily struggle with frozen muscles that hurt madly with even the usual human actions.
Iniesta has delivered for his club and country. And how!
Today, a host of magazines and blogs write about his prowess as a playmaker. But ever considered his largesse during matches? That selfless art of assists and play making that barely has reward. Not until the truly knowledgeable start to get it. His game plans and his through passes to enable this plans.
Slowly, over years people came to know that bit about him and the accolades piled up.
Then, one day it’s all over. The mind is made up. The stats have piled up well. There is no reason to stand up for the club again. Yet, it was life. And so a man sits alone in a dark ground away from the floodlights, looking at the green and what it gave him. A youth of achievement, a name to contend with.
Sport can do that. It can make you a legend at a very young age.
It’s so hard to walk away from all of it. Therefore, I admire what Sunil Chettri does. Selflessly allows others to score. Gives the ball away when he’s even wrong footed the goalkeeper.
Everyone plays the game to become a legend, at least to himself. It’s his yen to get up the next day and again play. Keep playing till he can tell his mates and himself, depend on me.
It’s why they play. For the team. For people who sweat beside them. For the fans who line up from 6 am for tickets.
It’s why they sit quietly in dark grounds when it’s all over.
A life well lived.