By Manish Rao –
International pickleball player and friend from Mumbai, India. After a year or more of pickleball chat on Facebook, I first met Manish at the 2018 US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples, Florida. In 2019, we were paired up to play in a match representing Team World in the Bainbridge Cup tournament in Essen, Germany. We won our match together! I thank you, Manish, for your contribution to my Crazy Pickleball Lady blog today.
Even though we all say that winning is not as important as participation, the fact remains that whatever the pundits say, winning is an important part of sports.
I have been playing pickleball for almost 6 years now and have been on the podium quite a few times. I’ve been on the top step many times, but have also been heartbroken when losing the finals and receiving silver.
In one such incident at the Indian Open finals in 2018, my partner and I lost a very close final match. I was totally dejected and heartbroken. I put up a Facebook post saying, “You don’t win silver. You lose gold.”
After reading this post, a cousin who is a sports therapist and works on the mental aspect of sport with athletes, gave me a run down, telling me to never get into this negative mode. He advised that I should appreciate what I have accomplished, rather that whining on about what I have lost.
This perspective from my cousin changed my life, and has motivated me to start giving more value to things that are present within me.
How many times have you noticed a silver medalist appears sad and dejected on the podium and at the same time the bronze medalist is on the cloud nine? Having lost the final match, the silver medalist often feels like a loser, even though they have achieved the second highest level in the tournament. The bronze medalist ends their day with a win, leaving them with a feeling of euphoria! This is all actually a play of the mind, which can only be controlled by the player who recognizes and prioritizes their accomplishments.
Sports can be a great teacher. Thanks to pickleball I have realized the worth of living in the present and the importance of enjoying life in its present state, while meeting people who share a common passion for pickleball and enjoy life without borders.
Never be too harsh on yourself, even if you do not succeed. Remember all victories and losses are temporary. No one remembers your results or the scores after 2 weeks, so just live the moment and be grateful for everything in life.
Professionally, Manish is a business owner in high-security automation systems. He touts himself as a engineer by qualification, and a sportsman by heart. He was quite overweight when he was introduced to pickleball in 2015, and the game changed his life. Meeting people from all over the world grew his conviction that pickleball was a sport that could be played by anyone. He is currently state secretary of Maharastra, and former General Secretary of All India Pickleball.
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