July 13, 2010

For love of country, sport or self?

Sportspersons/athletes have many goals. Some (most) want to be number 1 in the world...the best at what they do best. Others want to represent their country at the Olympics, even feeling that this is the biggest honour possible. Still others want to become famous while making a lot of money from endorsements and the like.

So what happens when someone has all of these goals? They may want one thing, their country may want something else from them, their bodies, after all the beating, may be willing to give something totally different than the requirements and so on. What can an athlete do when the demand and availability are in total contradiction? Who gets priority? The person who is striving for individual glory to be the best in the world? Or the person that the country most needs at that point in time? Let's not forget about the body that doesn't want to give at all! Is the athlete not entitled to some time off from all these demands? Can such time off be planned so as to not upset any of the people making the demands?

I'm not at all a fan of Rafael Nadal but I did feel sorry for the guy when all and sundry gave him hell for going to the World Cup Finals rather than playing a crucial Davis Cup tie against France. After a gruelling clay and grass court season, all he wanted was some time-off. The time-off coinciding with the Davis Cup as well as the World Cup was just his luck. What if Nadal had chilled out at home instead of being in South Africa? Would that have been better in the minds of those that criticized him? Seems like a bit of sour grapes syndrome...'I can't go to the finals so why should you just because you're famous? Do your job like how I'm doing mine and watch the finals on TV'!

It's not like Nadal planned it...no one other than Paul, the octopus, knew that Spain was going to win anyway.