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Is winning trophies and world championships the ultimate measure of one’s brilliance?

Sir Stirling Moss — gifted driver and British sporting icon
Sir Stirling Moss — gifted driver and British sporting icon
Modified 17 Sep 2020

“Victory is in the quality of competition and not the final score.”

- Mike Marshall

Building on Mike Marshall’s thoughts about victories – they are remembered for perhaps a few decades - but an act of good sportsmanship or fundamentally the quality of competition as he mentions is something that is remembered for a lifetime.

But sometimes, it so happens that the best of players may not win the ultimate crown, yet the one thing that etches the names of such personalities in the minds of people is the mettle which they’re made of.

One such example is Sir Stirling Moss. He raced for over 14 years, he was a winner of 212 (out of 529) races, which included 16 Grand Prix victories, but never a Grand Prix Championship title. So what made him one of the greatest drivers of all time?

Back in the 1950s, every aspiring driver wanted to be like Stirling Moss, the reason for that being he was not only a swashbuckling race-car driver but was also a phenomenal human being. He was considered a larger than life figure in the world of motor sport, more so because he was one of the survivors in an age when motor racing was about danger, bravery and camaraderie.

“A prodigious competitor, supremely talented racer and consummate gentleman, he leaves an indelible mark of greatness on the history of international motorsport,” F1 team McLaren said.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss, said about Sterling:

“Stirling’s career was characterised by an impeccable sportsmanship, and in this, he truly set himself apart. He was a great figure in the history of Mercedes, both as a Grand Prix driver and as the winner of the 1955 Mille Miglia.”

In cricket, there was a time when India’s ranking in Test matches had plummeted to as low as eighth, which was when Dada (Sourav Ganguly) was made the team's captain. With his enthusiasm, fearlessness and exemplary leadership, he pushed the team up to second in the Test rankings.

Ganguly even led India to the 2003 World Cup final where his men stumbled in the final against a Ricky Ponting-led Australia. Nevertheless, his ability to pick young players and build them from scratch played a key role in India winning the 2011 World Cup on home soil.

Indian batsman Manoj Tiwary has acknowledged the fact that youngsters who were groomed under Ganguly’s captaincy went on to become key players in the team's 2011 World Cup triumph:

"He gave so much of security to youngsters at that point of time, whether it be Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra or Gautam Gambhir. All that experience worked for us in 2011 under the brilliant captaincy of Dhoni."

It is clearly evident that one does not need to be the ultimate crown bearer in order to be the best in the world.

Oftentimes, even in the professional world, we miss our targets, fail to crack a deal, and even after putting our best efforts with various stakeholders, we are not recognised the way we should be. That is, however, not a barometer of our intelligence or the amount of knowledge we possess.

Hence, to come full circle by addressing the question with which this flow of thoughts commenced: is winning championship titles the ultimate index of one’s brilliance? Perhaps not.

I feel the only thing that truly speaks about a person’s brilliance is not the titles or laurels they achieve but the spirit, which is an amalgamation of the knowledge, skills and values they possess, of which they are made of.

Mr. Sanjeev Anand is the Head - Commercial & Rural Banking, IndusInd Bank.

Published 15 Sep 2020, 16:18 IST
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