Woh Kya Stud Hai

Looks like I am becoming a big fan of ROHIR BRIJNATH. Been writing blogs inspired by his articles for the second time in a row. That's something!!Looks like this guy writes article every Thursday in the sports column in The Hindu.

Now you must go through today's article of his, titled Greatness has no adequate explanation >>

Woods and Federer have almost made us believe the unthinkable, writes ROHIR BRIJNATH

# The matchless athlete has something we can't see, can't measure in a gym, can't calculate in a laboratory
# Sampras's secrets lay not in his wrists, or twitch fibre, but in the mind

WINNER ALL THE WAY: Tiger Woods flashes a smile after winning the PGA Championship on Sunday. — Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The excellent athlete does not merely win, he goes further, he evokes disbelief. As Tiger Woods tramped across fairways at last week's PGA Championship, the reaction he elicited was familiar: How does he do that? No answer is ever forthcoming for such greatness has no adequate explanation, no how-to formula.

We can examine how much Tendulkar practices, and note Federer's sweet hand-to-eye coordination. We can calculate VO2 max and skin-fold. We can study tactics and decipher strategy. Yet we are still not completely enlightened.


The matchless athlete has something we can't see, can't measure in a gym, can't calculate in a laboratory. He is fascinating but impenetrable, captivating but unfathomable, and this is part of his appeal. How can he summon the magical shot as if on command; why does he not blink when adversity confronts him? With reverence comes bewilderment.

How uncommon these athletes are is evident from our response to them. With the good athlete we ask, will he win? Of Woods and Federer we ask, will they fail? They have almost made us believe the unthinkable, that success in sport can be guaranteed.

Eleven times Woods has led going into the fourth (and final) round of a major championship, 11 times he has won. When he again had a share of the lead on the third evening at the PGA Championship, the tournament was considered more or less over. Even though there were 18 holes left to play! It was as if even his rivals had accepted victory was ordained and stepped back admiringly.

Being human

Like Tiger, Federer's opponents know he will stumble eventually, but you sense it is not because they are confident of beating him, but because they figure he is human and thus must lose one day. It is why praise of Andy Murray last week was deserved; it did not matter that Federer had a poor day, what mattered was that Murray was only the second man all year who actually believed he could beat Federer.

What is interesting is that it is not only us, the non-athlete, who cannot fathom genius. Neither can the average athlete. He may view greatness from closer up than us, across a net, or in a ring, but he is also disconnected from it. He knows there is something indefinably different to his outstanding rival, some quality beyond muscle, something which cannot be found with an extra 20 laps.

When Pete Sampras beat Greg Rusedski at the 2002 US Open, the sulky Brit insisted the American was too slow to win the next round, let alone the tournament. But a dazzling Sampras found a way to win the Open.

Irresistible argument

And Nirmal Shekar, in The Sportstar (September 21, 2002), put forward an irresistible argument that Rusedski and others who felt an ageing Sampras was beyond a Grand Slam title were judging him "within the ambit of their own knowledge and experience" which was limited. A player without a Grand Slam title (Rusedski) could only have limited understanding of the mental fortitude ( i.e. level of desire) of a man (then) with 13 (Sampras).

Wrote Shekar: "It takes a touch of greatness to peek into the soul of the sort of greatness symbolised by Sampras and see it for what it is, see it for what it is capable of, see it for its timeless quality and transcendental brilliance. Average men with average thought patterns like Rusedski's will never enjoy that privilege."

Sampras' secrets lay not in his wrists, or twitch fibre, but in the mind, where competitiveness brews and will is cultivated (and where Rusedski cannot look). Woods' opponents know the mysteries to his greatness lie not in his swing, or in his biceps, but somewhere in his head, a conspiracy of cells they cannot completely understand. So they must guess.

A top Australian golfer last week insisted, "Whatever the right frame of mind Tiger seems to find it when he needs it." Another Australian claimed: "He's far better than everyone at focusing." An American explained: "He doesn't make many mistakes." An Englishman even suggested, "He kind of wills the ball into the hole," as if Tiger owns some telekinetic power.

Like us, even these men who play with Tiger, are struggling to answer one of sports' most compelling questions. How in God's name does he do that?

Now its not surprising that we find such cases in our daily life too. Some people whom we regard as Studs, for there sheer brilliance in handling things. Many times I am in awe of these people and wonder how they do things as they do.

I would take the case of a good friend of mine. This person originated from a very remote village in India, went on to secure an admission to one of the prestigious institutions in India IIT Kharagpur. The professors used to ask him why he joined there, not because he was bad, but as he was too good for that place. I have not seen any hardworking and sincere banda like him. Now if I thought that was it, I was in for apleasantt surprise.

I got to know this side of his, when I started sharing an apartment with him. It was his keen observing nature, his ability to multi task and excel, his ability to put endless hours, and ofcourse his sarcastic humor.

I have not seen someone as brilliant in the area of their work as this guy. May be I could not do justice to bring out his brilliance in the above few words. I would end this on a note that this is one guy to whom I bow.

Now If I have to go on listing out some of the beautiful brains that I have come across in the short span of my life, this space will not be sufficient. But, I should say something that in continuation to my earlier post on "In awe of the simple". The simplicity with which these people show there brilliance, there superiority, there command over the things they do is simply amazing.

When ever I feel worthless, I just sit back and think of these people. The acts of these people. And I get the needed inspiration to get back and do something big in my life, so that others see me in the same vein as I see these folks.


Ananda said...

Any reason why you have avoided to mention the person's name? (Copyright issues?)

As I keep coming across people like you mention, I keep seeing a common pattern. Love and dedication in what they are doing. I also think it is the same observation of myself when I am involved with an activity is such intense. Well.. the issue is how long?