Don’t just leave a legacy.. ignite a fire for every Indian sportsperson to come : Sachin Tendulkar
Many people have, over the years, said that they look up to me. It’s a truly humbling feeling; one that makes all the hard-work worthwhile. In the same way, over the years I’ve looked up to several athletes who helped shaped India’s sporting image on an international playing field.
Today, being India’s National Sports Day and the birth anniversary of one of India’s finest sportsmen, I felt the best way for me to pay tribute to these great athletes would be to speak about the impact they had on me as a person, and as a sportsperson.
Major Dhyan Chand: Technique, Consistency, Legend
Even though his playing days were way before my time, the stories of Major Dhyan Chand’s dribbling wizardry trickled down through the generations to us youngsters. We’d heard of his 400+ international goals but it was only when we were much older that we understood the brilliance of his achievement. Legend was that he used to practice Hockey under the moonlit sky because there were no floodlights in those days. When I heard that story, it was probably the first time I fully realised the kind of commitment it would take to achieve my dreams. He was willing to do whatever it took. And he did it in true “Wizard” form. I write this article today in his honour.
Sunil Gavaskar: Concentration, Encouragement, Perfection
Early in my cricketing journey, Sunil Gavaskar made the kindest gesture any senior sportsman could have for a young athlete with passion in his heart; he gifted me his pads and to this day I consider this gift a priceless treasure. I’ll never forget the sense of encouragement I felt receiving them; every child should feel so special.
What I admired most about him was his commitment to technique. Watching Gavaskar’s Straight Drive inspired every batsman who came after him. All any of us could do was try to attain that level of control. It was a motivating point for me to work hard at my own Straight Drive. Hearing it being even remotely compared to his, still fills me with joy.
To me, Gavaskar always was and continues to be the epitome of unwavering concentration and courage. To step out on to the field against a team that was well-known for ferocious pace bowlers, sometimes without even a proper helmet for protection, and still achieve one of the highest batting averages in his career. All I can say is … Wow!
PT Usha: Change-maker, Empowerment, Courage
Back in the 80s, when I was just starting out in my own career as a cricketer, a strong young Track & Field athlete was already blazing a trail for Indian sportswomen and sportsmen. I was one of those millions of Indians who sat in front of their television sets, cheering loudly as she jet past her opponents, bringing pride to her nation with every one of the 100+ international medals she won. What I saw was a woman who was fiercely unafraid; unafraid of defying convention, of being the spark of change, and unapologetically unafraid of following her passion aggressively. As I see it, PT Usha was the turning point for India. Her ability to tackle stereotypes through the sheer force of her performance was astounding. PT Usha paved the way. Man or woman, she inspired us all to want to be better at sports and stand on that Winner’s podium. I will never forget her for that.
Vijay Amritraj: Adaptability, Determination, Eclectic
I grew up watching this Indian Tennis legend and what I admire most about Vijay Amritraj is the adaptability and determination he displayed, both as a Tennis player and in life. His desire to explore different career paths always seemed an interesting choice. From being an ace Tennis player to acting in an iconic Bond movie to being a commentator, he never shied away from the challenge of something new. This man knew how to live every one of his dreams and that really resonated with me. If I learned anything from him, it’s that adaptability goes beyond sport. One just needs the willingness to explore.
Prakash Padukone: Perseverance, Drive, Passion
If anyone were to ask me what about Prakash Padukone struck me the most, it would be his die-hard passion for his sport. Through his grit and determination, he showed the world that great things can be achieved despite the limitations of infrastructure. He grew up in a middle-class family, with a passion to succeed at sport. That made his story very relevant for me. Pure love for the game motivated him to take a chance on fate and believe in his own abilities. It’s what helped him become one of India’s most legendary Badminton players. He taught me the most valuable lesson … Passion is the key.
For all these amazing sportsmen and sportswomen, it was passion, perseverance and courage that set them apart. Each one of them made it big in their careers, but it all started with the right attitude, a sense of self-belief, and … baby steps. They made the most of what they had rather than using what they didn’t as something that stood in their way. I hope, as they’ve inspired me … they do the same for you and encourage you to pick up a sport, even if recreationally. It will change your life.
Wishing you all a Happy National Sports Day! Together, let’s transform India from a sport-loving nation to a sport-PLAYING nation.
Written By : Sachin
Courtesy : Click Here
( Sachin Tendulkar Official Facebook Page )