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My favourite sportsperson and what I want my sons to learn by watching him.

‘Those determined to reach their goals know that. The distance between your dreams and reality is discipline.’

by Nisha Karthigeyan

(Photo by Patrick Hendry from Unsplash)

I am a sports fan. The reason I write this article is to pen my thoughts on India’s most swashbuckling sportstar, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli. (also the current captain of the One day International and test matches)
Few days ago, my son suggested we play a game on famous sports personalities, from around the world. Each person says a name starting with the end letter of the sports person, the other person said.

According to the mood, I decided for myself that this list would purely be based on their handsomeness (combination of looks, personality and the way they carry themselves in public) , without necessarily taking their sports talent/skills into consideration. While most of them are sports legends- undoubtedly bothe women and men, some are relatively unknown or lesser-known. But all of them have played sports at international level.

Towards the end of our play, we had a little chat on whom we like the most in the respective sports arena. While my son is a huge admirer of football, I have my heart in cricket.
I remember my younger days when I used to be dad’s favourite companion in watching the sport. I used to have a thing or two to ask and would get annoyed when the game didn’t play out on television, the way I would envisage.
I enjoy the game for all it’s deadly combination of collective calm and individual prowess.
In today’s time, if I had to chooses one cricketer as the strongest in the world, it would be none other than Virat Kohli!
And trust me, my reasons have nothing to do with anything but his character as a cricketer.

Okay, so let’s unpack my sentiments about him. You don’t like a person. There are qualities and actions of a person you like.

  • I like his unwavering focus on the game.
  • I like how he would hurl expletives when pumped up because that was his way of showing how involved he is in what he’s doing.
  • I like it when he jumps and punches the air when he scores a fifty or a hundred and when he takes the team past the finish line because that shows how much he wants it to happen.
  • I like to see his exercise videos on social media because that will inspire at least a few people who idolise him to become fit.
  • I like to see him sing and dance with team mates,( my son has exhausted his chances of the gangnam style dance video) where he shows that he’s not just about sports and fitness.
  • I am a fan of his passion for cricket and his supreme adaptability.
  • He is strong not physically alone but also from the mind. He is not bogged down, appears to take things as they come, plays to win and is unaffected by any type of criticism. His focus while playing cricket is at another level. When he is there at the crease, he puts up a fight against the opposition and at the same time keeps enjoying his game.

This man combines hard-work, intelligence and a spirit to fight and win, and I would spend money on watching him with my sons, for as long as, they can take those positives back home!

Thankyou for reading the article!

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My favourite sportsperson and what I want my sons to learn by watching him. was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Prepare For After The Plague

Opportunities are lurking in disaster

Plague in an Ancient City, Michiel Sweerts, c. 1652–1654

We are living through a global pandemic and our ways of life have been thrown into disarray.

The COVID-19 virus has caused a tidal wave of change to how our society functions. The global economy has come to a halt. Millions of people are being laid off from work and many businesses that have closed will not reopen. People fear for their health, their loved ones, and their finances . Many of us are locked indoors, unable to lead our normal lives, and we’re uncertain of what will come next.

But anxiety and aimlessness will not serve us. Instead, we should set our minds to preparing for the world that comes after the pandemic recedes. If we look back in time, we will see that this has happened before. Plague, and the economic ruin that comes with it, have dogged the human race for as long as society has existed. If we look back to the Plague of Athens in 429 BC, we can glean lessons from another society that was almost destroyed by a sudden epidemic, but came roaring back with renewed ambition.

The Plague of Athens

When the Peloponnesian War broke out between Athens and Sparta in 431 BC, Sparta was known to have the stronger army on land. To avoid certain defeat, Pericles, a towering statesman who had led Athens for decades, devised a plan: The Athenians would seal themselves up in their fortified city walls, and leave the countryside of Attica to the Spartans. Because the ‘long walls’ of Athens were connected to its port city of Piraeus, trade and commerce could continue and a steady supply of imported grain would ensure the city could wait out the siege.

The long walls of Athens | Source: Wikimedia Commons

As people streamed into the safety of Athens’ city walls from the countryside, the city’s population tripled in size. Already a teeming metropolis, the city now was completely packed. When a mysterious plague arrived by way of the port, the crowded city was fertile ground for transmission. The illness, now speculated to be typhus or smallpox, burned through the city’s population. The historian Thucydides, who survived the plague himself, tells us:

“There was no previous record of so great a pestilence and destruction of human life. The doctors were unable to cope, since they were treating the disease for the first time and in ignorance: indeed, the more they came into contact with sufferers, the more liable they were to lose their own lives. No other device of men was any help… In the end, people were overwhelmed by the disaster and abandoned efforts against it.”

The effects of the plague were appalling. Thucydides tells us the victims suffered from fever, sore throat, coughing, vomiting, ulcers, insomnia, diarrhea, and eventually death. The disease was as virulent as it was lethal, and it is estimated that 25% of Athens died from the sickness. Even the towering figure of Pericles, Father of the Athenian Golden Age, was killed by the plague.

The people of Athens were paralyzed with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Would they be struck down by the disease, or their loved ones? How could they earn a livelihood with their businesses destroyed and the treasury in ruins? How could they defend themselves against their foreign enemies? All hope seemed lost, and many people had the natural reaction of giving up hope and retreating into depression and vice.

But not everyone. In Steven Pressfield’s masterful novel Tides of War, he gives us a fictionalized account of how some planned for the plague’s inevitable end. Alcibiades, the brilliant and controversial strategist, reflected on the death of Pericles and what would come after:

What dies with Pericles is vision. But even he has not seen far enough. The Plague will end, we will survive it. What then?

Alcibiades’ vision was that Athens, reborn from the ashes of the Plague, would need bold leadership and vision for charting a new path. The old ways had been disrupted and new thinkers must come forward to fill the gap. Without the constraints of the old guard, new opportunities would open up for those willing to take risks.

What Is Your Bold Vision For After The Plague?

Life after the COVID-19 pandemic will be challenging, uncertain, and chaotic. But as Alcibiades saw, uncertainty and disruption create opportunity for new ideas and new paths. What path would you like to chart for your life and career as the pandemic recedes?

If you need inspiration, consider the changes already rippling through our society — remote work as the new normal, vast demand for at-home delivery and digital content, shifting value of urban real estate, millions of talented workers seeking jobs, a renewed emphasis on pharmaceuticals, discontentment with our political class and shifting foreign policies — the list goes on. If we prepare for the new landscape emerging, we can be on the forefront of these changes.

How To Prepare

You are most likely to succeed if you can minimize the time you spend distracted, depressed, and unfocused. These are simple steps you can take to begin preparing for the world after the COVID-19 lockdown:

1) Establish & Maintain A Daily Routine

My dad told me about an unwritten law for American prisoners of war in Japanese prison camps during World War II: Maintain physical hygiene and follow a daily routine. The prison guards were trying to break the Americans mentally by treating them like animals. When a prisoner stopped shaving, cutting his nails and combing his hair, a strange thing happened — he succumbed more easily to psychological pressure from the guards, and he began to act like an animal, gradually withdrawing from his fellow prisoners and eventually losing the will to live. To resist this pressure, the Americans required themselves to maintain a daily routine.

We are creatures of habit. When our habits break down and are not replaced, we lose our orientation of who we are and our proper direction. If your daily routines have been interrupted by the COVID lockdown, re-establish new ones that work for you.

Don’t let your days slip into shapeless, unproductive time. It’s bad for the mind and will invite anxiety and depression.

2) Exercise & Get Outside

If you want to stay healthy and prepared, you have to exercise and get outside on a daily basis. There are many free instructions online for getting exercise without a gym using calisthenics, jumping rope, H.I.I.T. training, yoga, and many other methods.

Walking outside is the easiest way to chase away doubt and depression. Getting out of your cramped indoors will help you think more clearly and brush away the mental cobwebs that come from too much time inside.

3) Vigorously Network

This is a crucial time to reestablish contact with your friends, loved ones, mentors, colleagues, and potential employers. Aside from the benefits of strengthening communal bonds with people you care about, you can take this time to build a better relationship with trusted counselors whose advice you appreciate. Reconnect with old coworkers who may refer you to your next job, or discuss business ideas with old friends who are brilliant but have been laid off.

You can bolster your professional network by emailing, calling, and messaging people on LinkedIn. People will be flattered that you thought of them during difficult times and will remember you with good will.

4) Self-improvement

There are probably areas of your life you would like to develop, but haven’t had the time or energy to focus on in the bustle of everyday life. Now could be an opportunity to look into classes you’d like to take, books you’ve been meaning to read, or new skills you’d like to hone. These skills and hobbies will be fulfilling in any event, but they may also point you towards what you would like to be doing after the COVID-19 lockdown ends.

5) Reflect On What Is Important

Take this chance to ask yourself what really matters to you. What are your values, and are you living up to them? Is your career heading in the direction you want, or is there something else you’d rather be doing? Don’t let this opportunity for self-reflection pass you by.

If you practice these habits together, you will find that they begin to overlap and reinforce each other: your daily routine will point you towards productive activity like exercise and nurturing your network. Your productive state of mind will help you build yourself in the areas where you would like to improve, and it will become more clear to you what you really want to be doing with your life.

Plan for the post-lockdown world

The world will look very different when we emerge from the COVID lockdown. We are entering a tentative and uncertain period, and those who have prepared and are ready to take bold risks will be in a position to succeed.

Your habits and the skills you hone now can position you to come out of the COVID epidemic in a better position than you went in. It can be very tempting to give in to listlessness and let the days bleed into each other. I encourage you to resist this temptation. Make good use of your time with the steps above, and prepare for after the plague.


Prepare For After The Plague was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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