Yesterday after Fedrer lost his match to Nadal, he reacted in the most amusing way…..
He cried !! Not that it is new for a sportsman to cry on field because of failure.. But none the less I was surprised. I have seen Agassi cry many a times after losing a grad slam final. Vinod Kambli cried once he knew the 96 world cup dream was all over. It doesn’t take much for a football player to cry once his team has lost in a penalty shoot out. And who can forget Sampras crying and playing at the same time when his coach had collapsed during his match.
I read an article in an Australian website … It said Fedrer crying on the field was understandable and that it was a touching response by an individual who had hardly known defeat for the last 5 five years.
But my mind did wander a bit ……
It wandered to understand why a great player like Fedrer who had won so many titles would break down because he lost a single match. Was it his frustration at not being able to regain his number one spot or was it deeper than that
What does it tell about an athlete’s character when he weeps after a loss?
When he sees tears as a solution to the huge disappointment he has just faced?
Can tears actually fix things which have gone wrong.. Can it change the past? Or is it just that a persons grief be reduced to some extent if he weeps.
Grief!!!! I guess is the most common emotion we all have. We grieve more than we rejoice as we think we toil more than we rest and we suffer more than we enjoy in our lives. This is something we all feel. But how justified are we in assuming this. Buddha in his teachings of the four noble truths tells us that we should understand “Dukham” or Suffering as a reality in life and we must understand that desire is the root cause of all our suffering .Of course he also preaches that there is a way to escape “Dhukam”, to be free of pain. It is a path which only a few understand and only a small fraction of those who understand take that path. He also says that men are bound by their Karma. And the cycle is forever, so would it mean that suffering is also for ever?
The Bhagwad Gita also offers a solution to get out of this cycle which is very close to what the Buddha preached. It tells us to the solution to escape Karma which means nothing but Action, is not Inaction but the execution of action as sacrifice, to toil hard for our goals, to be steadfast in our beliefs and never deviate from the path of dharma. This I believe is most certainly the best way to keep grief at bay. The path we take to reach our destination determines the joy we feel on completing the journey. Our character is not determined by weather we lost or won, but by how we won or lost.
For some defeat is just the beginning of a long and very successful life. For others it is a slide which puts to in the deepest pit, where they loose hope of gaining your ground again.
Tears certainly are not a sign of weakness, but it certainly defines your character. Sampras weeping at the sight of his mentor being taken to a hospital is very different than Agassi or Fedrer crying for the loss of one match. Fedrer should relish the fact that he was on top for five long years. He dominated the tennis world like no one has done before. He has most certainly left an indelible mark on world tennis. One small defeat like this should not have moved him to tears.
But Maybe, Just maybe I am wrong and have spoken too early.
I once heard a story about a Roman senator. It is said that when this senator was in his mid thirties, he saw a statue of “Alexander The great” and wept in font of it. He wept because by the age of 27 Alexander had conquered much of the known world, whereas he who was much older than him now, was just another Roman senator. How much of this affected him and in what way we do not know. But we know this. He went on to become Julius Caesar. The greatest and the most loved General Rome had ever seen.
We never know. Fedrer might just become Caesar in the world of tennis after this defeat.