The killer instinct: Some have it, I don’t- July 8, 2012

Watching sports and great sports-persons always amazes. Tonight, as we watched the Great Fed and Murray battle it out, amid bouts of rain at Wimbledon, we talk about sports as a talent, as an attitude. Yes, certain people are immensely talented at sports. I have known those with great accuracy, great body coordination, great stamina, great focus, great instinct, great reflexes and all sorts of combinations of the above.

The two men in my life I have known best- my dad and my husband have had, in addition to a smattering of the above talents, had that other ability that, in my opinion, really makes or breaks a sports-person. The killer instinct, the ability to be so keenly competitive that you fight for every single point as if is a matter of life and death. Interestingly, these are two gentle and civil people. The killer instinct manifests itself through intense strategy, rarely via aggression. The strategy disarms opponents, but players who can match their intelligence throw them off their feet and offer real challenge. Rahul appreciates the same ability in an opponent, I’ve seen the pleasure he gets out of playing when evenly matched and how easily he tires of opponents who are as skilled but less cerebral in how they play their sport.

Now me, I’ve never been much of a sporting person. Even at things other than sports, I get too complacent too soon and give up easily when challenged beyond my comfort zone. I wish dearly I had more of a fight in me. Back at school, we had a classmate called Shariq who was our house captain. He pushed me to try new things at sport. I did reasonably well at stuff like shot put and discuss, but what he discovered in me was a sort-of talent for long distance walking! The first time I competed, he ran many laps with me, ensuring I didn’t slow down or give up. So I’m hoping (not in sports, but in life) maybe I’m one of those slow and steady sort of winners. I’m hoping the tenacity and long-term stamina that I think I have can make up for the lack of the killer instinct! Someday…

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