Is Winning Everything?

It’s a fairly serious question. For someone like me who would like to tell his team every day that its not. Because winning anyway happens while you are trying to become better than yourself. Someone quoted on Twitter the other day – I get worried when people are more passionate about success than being passionate about the things that they love to do.

The debate cropped up yesterday during the India-Australia QF match (where else, but on twitter) with a friend. I have a fundamental disconnect with abusive cricket, people walking down to the batsmen and trying to sledge them out, or generally creating a muck of what’s otherwise such a beautiful feeling of competing to win. And in that sense, a leader which encourages that is more so at guilt than the player who does it. To me, that leader can be a great competitor in the game, but never a legend.

You probably know by now that I am referring to Ricky Ponting. The man is a batsman almost as good as any that most of us have seen in our lifetime. Not surprisingly, Twitter Intellgensia (Twigensia?) was quite unnerved by the boos received by Ricky Ponting, given he is a “legend” with prodigious talent. However, Ricky Ponting needs to ask himself if he deserved that. The answer is a resounding Yes. And its not true just of him. Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth from our own team deserve some of that whenever they face fans of other countries, because they represent not the game, but this sick notion of winning is everything, and I shall win at any cost. I am sure there are as many quotes supporting Lombardi’s “winning is everything”, as there are opposing with a “how you played the game”. To set the contxt, unlike many, I am not one of those who looks at India’s sledging fest against Aussies in the series down under as – “Damn right, time to give them back” with great admiration. I still believe in a hostile spell of fast bowling shaking the batsman, or some Sehwagian aggression in batting destroying the line and length of a bowler being far more telling than the choicest abuses about who’s mother is sleeping with whom.

And hence, my conclusion is that Ricky Ponting, one of the grittiest batsman today, does not come close to being a true sportsman, for what he lacks is the spirit to play fair and square. If he is so good a player in such an excellent team (which I believe that he is, but probably he himself does not), why hide behind the cover of cheating, abuses, panic and blame-gaming whenever something is not going your way. The question has never been about his batting skills or his prodigious talent or the indisputable champion that Australian team has been. The question is – whether he needs to do what he does to win the game. Most likely, the answer is no. Victory is insecure. Greatness/Legend is not.

And for me, the logic extends to day to day life, office culture, music and theatre and movies, sports, writing, anything and everything. Being a cheat, standing up for cheating, being insecure in your victory are not signs of a great person. And while I can, I will keep reminding myself and everyone that winning is definitely not everything. It’s about becoming better than everyone else, including yourself. And if that does not ensure winning, nothing can.

BTW – The legendary ones are usually not known to be jerks. The keyword is “known”. They still might be jerks.

And remembering Ritesh’s quote – “Paisa khuda nahi hota Mr. Das.. par khuda kasam, khuda se kam bhi nahi hota!” 😉

About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

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