Angie: Hi, How are you doing?
Apeksha: I am good, how about you?
Apeksha: Have a nice day.
That’s how my conversation started and ended with Angie. She was one of my seniors, and had been awarded the best project of the year a while ago. I had met her twice, and both the times, the conversation was just about the same. I moved on and didn’t stop to think any more about it, until now. Now, I was feeling foolish and stupid. Why?
I just finished reading a story about her battle with cancer, a battle she waged four times in her lifespan of 32 years. Yes, four times. Not only this, she had a knee replacement last year, and nearly had a scare about her leg being amputated before the knee was completely healed. She was told by the doctor once that she had 2-4 weeks to live. She fought hard, and survived the biggest battles of her career.
Now the big question: Who is Angie? Well, Angie is currently coaching a high school volleyball team, and also counsels college students. She has been involved in sports right since she was a kid. This made me understand how big a role it had played in her determination to fight cancer – the toughest rival one can have in one’s life. Can it be that sports had helped in the development of her positive attitude towards life, and the will to fight it with courage and strength?
Sports, traditionally, have been viewed as a mode of entertainment for people. Still, there are many developing countries in which sport has not been awarded the right place it deserves in our society. Yes, I agree that watching our favorite players really makes our evenings and days exciting, but can it also help us in building who we are?
Yes, a lot has been said about how sports can help us build our attitude and character. But I thought, let me see how many athletes have actually gone on to fight threatening diseases successfully just like we expect them to fight their biggest rivals, and come out as the winner. I was amazed to see the numerous athletes who, in spite of being diagnosed with life threatening diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, didn’t give in and fought the toughest battle of their lives, to emerge as the real champions of life.
So here is the start of my first article in the series, where I will bring to you the story of such athletes (some famous, like Lance Armstrong, Yuvraj Singh, some local community role models like Angie). These are the stories of the real battles of the real people in the real world of sports called life. I believe that sports has a lot to do with their inspiring stories, and helped them conquer the biggest fear one can ever have in their lives.
“Sports, if it has taught me one most important thing, is to never give up in any situation. Be it when I was hell tired after playing 89 minutes in a match and it was just one more minute when I scored my team’s winning goal, or when I was down 2 sets in tennis and still I fought hard to come back in the match, or when right at the buzzer, my rivals scored a 3 pointer only to make me comeback more stronger and determined to defeat them. So what if in these cases I just had a 50% winning chance or 1% chance of making a comeback. But I will never give up because this is who I am. I am a player first and human being later.” – Anonymous
After reading about Angie, I realized that, in reality, we don’t even realize that it in people around us, we can find the most amazing stories of life. We tend to look for inspiration from famous personalities, but what we forget is that every person like you and me has had their share of struggles. Some give in and lose the battle, some fight it but give in right at the last moment and then there are some who decides that they will not let fate and their fears to overrule their lives. These are the people who fight knowing that they can achieve anything by their will and perseverance. These are the people who are right across you: maybe your father, mother, friend, the person across your street or your senior.
Never underestimate them, always try to seize an opportunity to know about the lives of people around you. You never know when you can find Angie, or become one yourself.
In adverse situations, it is the power to think differently, to think positive, to believe that you can overcome the barriers that may turn out to be the game-changer for you.
But no one has ever done it before, so how can I?
In Angie’s case it was the doctor, in your case it can be your critics, people around you, who might be skeptical, or realistic, as they like to call themselves. Never listen to them; listen to what your mind has to say to you.