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Olympic range and mailing them to his mot

 
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MessagePosté le: Lun 4 Déc - 11:26 (2017)    Sujet du message: Olympic range and mailing them to his mot Répondre en citant

I went from being a promising cricketer to a has-been without a major career in the intervening period. It was a route many took. As a has-been, I played league cricket in two cities with a group of overgrown enthusiasts who had the reverse of amnesia - they could remember things that never happened. For example, taking incredible catches at slip, or scoring a century.We strutted out to bat like our heroes, with our collars raised. We knew all the stories, all the jokes - and that convinced us we had all the strokes, knew all the tricks, and that on a clear day we could make the ball reverse swing. And that we could do it on a belly full of beer, which was the staple lunch.Surprisingly, in both phases - the promising and the has-been - we did identical things. We picked national teams with a shrewdness and a lack of bias that was impressive. We knew so much theory it was a wonder we were able to let go of the ball while bowling. As batsmen we were so conscious of where our left shoulder, right foot, even the parting of our hair ought to be, that our regular dismissals for single-digit scores were put down to astrological reasons.Our heads were filled with statistics. In later years our bank codes were built around 6996, 8032, 413 and other well-known figures from the game. We thought we were unique in all this - including the manner in which we followed the fortunes of the national team.The true cricket lover is a fantasist, a legend in his own mind. One such, Marcus Berkmann, has captured some of this flavour in his delightful Rain Men. Cricket forces its players into such contortions of body and mind that it amazes me there arent more books on the humour of the game. Rain Men is not, as one review has suggested, the Fever Pitch of cricket. Fever Pitch (by Nick Hornby) is a tribute to fandom by an Arsenal supporter, but it lacks the lunacy of Rain Men. Or perhaps it is easier for me to identify with a cricket obsessive. One of my regrets as a PG Wodehouse fan is that the Master chose to move to the US, and baseball and golf, despite being a cricket fan. He has written some evocative pieces on cricket (brought together in the book Wodehouse At The Wicket edited by Murray Hedgcock), but nothing commensurate with his interest in the game. This was a sound business decision, calculated not to alienate his American audience, for Wodehouse continued to follow the game. Legend has it that he gave up his bank job after taking off to The Oval to watch Jessops Match (Gilbert Jessop made 104 out off 139 before Wilfred Rhodes and George Hirst took England to a one-wicket win in 1902), and being forced to return to work before the fireworks started.In Swami and Friends, RK Narayan has written engagingly on the game, capturing the anxieties of the young minds playing it in the local community. But Rain Men (subtitle: The Madness of Cricket) is different because it meshes obsession, resignation, and the batting average that reads like a shoe size. And it speaks uncomfortable truths, especially about the village game, so beloved of myth-makers.Village cricket is a brutal sport in which the strong thrive and the weak are quickly pummelled into submission, says Berkmann. Never in hundreds of village cricket matches have I seen a floppy-eared bunny rabbit scamper anywhere, unless its under the wheels of a passing lorry. Robin redbreasts search in vain for branches of 200-year oaks from which to tweet, as Farmer Giles has had them all cut down. The last burly blacksmith died in 1967. The new parson spends Saturday afternoons with his friend Clive.Berkmanns team, Captain Scott XI (named after the polar explorer who is the symbol of the second best) plays as only such teams can. Without anything incidental like trophies or prestige to aim at, most friendly sides have long since opted for internal strife, he says, and adds, To be treated with the respect you arent due is the dream of every talentless sportsman. Many of my old club-mates will vouch for that.Rain Men by Marcus Berkmann Little, Brown, 1996Wodehouse at the Wicket by PG Wodehouse Hutchinson, 1997 New Balance 373 Bordeaux . Once again, DeLaet finished tied for second at a PGA Tour stop on the weekend, this time at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The pride of Weyburn, Sask. New Balance 574 Soldes Homme . Ibaka equaled a career high with 20 rebounds, adding four blocked shots and 15 points as the Thunder smothered the Milwaukee Bucks offence in a 92-79 victory Saturday night. http://www.nbsoldes.fr/ . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night, winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games. Basket New Balance Pas Cher . Sgt. Eric ONeal says most of the arrests at Monday nights game were for public drunkenness, though one person was taken into custody on suspicion of trying to steal a seat from the stadium. New Balance Bordeaux 576 . Kyle Denbrook, a soccer player from Saint Marys University, took the CIS male athlete of the week honour. Stanley, a fourth-year business administration student from Charlottetown, scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Dalhousie on Friday and tallied again in a 1-0 win over Saint Marys on Sunday. It happened just for a single second. In Rio in April, just for this fragment of time, he was his old self. His old, high-strung, nothings-good-enough, pushing-himself, perfection-demanding, obsession-embracing, brilliant self.Hed shot 626.2 in the air rifle in a World Cup test event, which is 10.4 per shot, which in the previous scoring system would roughly translate to 598/600, which is by any measure a pretty, decent score.Well, for most people. But since when was Abhinav Bindra, in his old self, most people?And so when Gaby Buhlmann, one of his coaches, walks by, and hes standing there with that very Bindra look which is all inconsolable fury, and she asks him about the scoresheet that hes holding, he says this:Its toilet paper.Crap score.Unworthy.Pitiful.If you wanted an introduction to driven and be acquainted with desire, then you had to meet Bindras old self. Under his skin, desperation crawled. Hed examine every pellet of hundreds under a magnifying glass in case one had a flaw. Because he couldnt afford a flaw. Because he was in pursuit of only the flawless. Hed unlock his range at 3am, in his underwear, because a brilliant idea had struck him, and dont raise that eyebrow. How else does perfection come?His old self had coaches who tuned his focus and tightened his technique and grew him up, but no one needed to kindle his flame. When he told me, years ago, about the time he shot 600/600 six times in practice and wasnt happy, even I, whod read enough on eccentricity and sport, thought, Dear God, who is this?But that old self, its mostly gone, its broken apart. Only slivers of it remain, only remnants left behind of a younger man, only pieces which show up now and then for a second.Because in the next second he corrects himself.Its not toilet paper.His score is not crap, he reminds himself. Its impressive. Its a score to be respected. To be grateful for. His old, hard self took him to Olympic gold in 2008 but no athlete, no human, can stay the same. His old self was too hard to maintain and so he keeps reinventing himself, challenging himself, invigorating himself, discovering himself. He doesnt just experiment with shooting, hes turned himself into a shooting experiment.He has kept trying to reshape himself, to be less anxious, less negative, less hard on himself. Till here he is, at the cusp of his fifth Games, a Games which has tested him, ruined him, fuelled him, made him and now to this Games he says goodbye. Hes like a bullet that has travelled too far. Hes not going back.I have less shots left.And no more Olympics.***Bindra and I have history. Actually a book, his book, titled A Shot at History. The writing of it made us, him 33 now, me 53, friends. We text now and then. We talk politics. I tell him he needs to be less boring if he wants to get married. He laughs. Hes switchblade sharp and too wise for his age. He was the right sportsperson to do a book with -- and any journalist who reads this will grin like hell -- because he was always on time. The business of athletes, who are creatures of exquisite timing on the field, is to be late for everything off the field --- as if to be on time reflects an unnecessary enthusiasm for an interview. Its not that no one told Bindra this, its merely that hes his own unflinching man.Between 2009 and 2011, we meet 4-5 times in Delhi, once in Chandigarh, twice in Singapore. Sometimes for eight hours a day. If I write him an email -- 322 in 2010 alone -- hell reply within 24 hours, whatever time zone hes in. If I call and he doesnt pick him, hell call back after practice. When Im in Delhi, I ask, What time do you want to start tomorrow?You say.9am?Fine.At 9am, hes there. No bleary-eyed, phone-to-ear, Ill-be-with-you-shortly look. Instead hes scrubbed, dressed, shoes polished, pants with creases as sharp as the parting in his hair. Coffee? Breakfast? He wears muted colours and also an almost unfashionable, self-deprecating, respectful politeness.Hes a shooter, a stationary and hushed hero and so you dont expect an aura, but hes an Olympic champion, a world champion, hes great, hes somebody, yet he carries it all calmly -- unpretentiously but gravely. Hes not the guy for the stupid question. Dont ask him, Oh, how many shots are there in shooting? Just dont. He wont be rude, he simply wont be interested in you because you havent respected him by doing your homework. He takes shooting seriously, so take him seriously.His phone is off. No sister, friend, sponsor interrupts. Hell talk as long as I want to talk. An air-conditioner hums and my pen scratches. This is incredibly hard for him for hes not a man of words. In another life he could have been a caver, or a deep sea diver, for he lives in silence, a loner, whose grand journeys are into the unknown depths of his own self.Hes incredibly shy, hes private, yet hes parting curtains because hed agreed to that beforehand. Agreed that we were not going to make money with this book. We get it, its a shooting book. And we dont help either with sales because hes too awkward to tweet about it and I am not on Twitter. But we dont care about that. Also he has no private life, no Bollywood girlfriend, no model on his arm, not found frequently on Page 3. He doesnt even have a fast car and a frothing father, hes just terrifyingly normal, hes the un-Agassi. But we dont care about that either. We only care about writing a raw, honest, gritty investigation into his single-minded, desperate, eccentric, devoted pursuit of his greatest sporting self. Not a how-to-win book but a how-he-won book.So he opens himself up, he peels his skin away. He talks about pain, crying, whining, defeat, perseverance, learning, courage, acting. He talks about officials who do nothing, about 10-day silent retreats to improve concentration, about climbing a pizza pole. He talks about how Olympic defeat sent him to therapy and how Olympic victory brought on a depression. He never cuts corners in shooting, he wont for tthis.ddddddddddddHe doesnt know how.For a writer, this is a pleasure. Most of our lives were herded in and out of interviews, offered canned answers, expected to dissect greatness in nine minutes. There are always questions left to ask, but here, with him, there are none. Here I have an Olympic champion to whom I can ask anything for however long. Its a two-year tutorial in sporting desire.But I also, inadvertently, do him a minor favour because he concedes that all this talking liberates him. It softens his suspicion of the outside world, it peels away some of his insularity, and he even tells me some weeks ago that hes now more patient with journalists and understands our jobs better. Of course, Ive always been nice to them, he says. I think hes grinning as he talks. I roll my eyes.When he had to make speeches at symposiums, hed be edgy, practicing before the mirror for weeks, timing himself, but now hes less ruffled. I dont agonize any more. I like doing conversation-styled events. I am brutally honest in them and try to be funny. People relate to honesty. In collaboration with GoSports Foundation, which supports emerging athletes, hes doing workshops with young shooters and even giving away rifles. Last year 10 of them, one to a Paralympian.Hes a man who has unfolded wings he never knew he had.***Shooting is a subtle, complex activity involving slow-motion movements and pellets that fly too fast to see. You can see the footballer feint, turn, accelerate but here there is an invisible beauty, the control of the heartbeat, the muscles, tiny and large, activating to ensure balance, the search for stability. Its pursuit is terrifying simple: Perfection. Press your pen to paper. It leaves a dot. Thats roughly the bullseye in the 10m air rifle. Now hit it 60 times.We are drawn, mostly, to sports which are popular, whose stars beckon us, whose history is rooted in our lands, whose movement fascinates us. Shooting does not qualify. It is not a rite of passage nor a spectacle. And yet to talk with Bindra, and watch him practice, is to be led within shooting, inside its skin, to appreciate the delicacy of its craft (the dilemma of when to trigger) and to fathom in a moving world the challenge of stillness. This is sport, too.He taught me how coldly punitive shooting is when it comes to the human error. The cost of the tiny mistake is in fact inhuman. Its not enough for him to hit the .5mm bullseye because his score will be determined by how close he is to the centre of that .5mm bullseye.He made me understand better the task of the athlete who competes only against himself. If you play directly against someone else (i.e. tennis), you need to perform only to a level high enough to beat that person. You can play at 80 per cent and win. You can be imperfect. In shooting, he competes against an entire cast of characters all at once, a 50-strong, high-class field whose skill he cant control or affect. He cannot play within himself. He cannot play just well enough. He cannot raise his game when it matters on a big shot because every shot is big. He has to give everything of himself to every single pellet fired.He offered a nuanced explanation of the idea of control, for in shooting it involves a suffocation of emotion. No reaction to a 10, none to a 9, each score worn, swallowed, moved on from, perfection shrugged at, imperfection forgotten, no rage allowed, no vocal whine, no high five (with whom), no uppercut of the air. Everyone suffers and all in equal silence.And Bindra is still suffering. He always suffers. He cant not suffer because it would mean he doesnt care. Hes just suffering less. Hes done what he had to which is to give shooting his entire being. He didnt lean on his 2008 Olympic gold, but he put aside one masterpiece and started on another canvas. And yet even as his journey isnt defined by this gold -- but by his patience, his learning, his constancy, his willingness to experiment, his medals elsewhere -- it gives his journey a particularly fine glint.He, the young boy who loved the smell of gun oil, whose parents supported his dream and bore his boyish tantrums, whose solitary personality fit this lonely sport, is proud of where hes travelled as a shooter. But its a quiet pride for he wears his uniqueness -- first Indian to win individual Olympic gold -- with a lightness. And because he has journeyed well, he comes to his last Games very much at peace. In his last three Games he skipped the tiring Opening Ceremony to prepare himself, yet now he wants to walk out, as flag-bearer, with his vast sporting clan and feel a final sense of kinship. When you retire, you no longer belong. Yes, he says, I am emotional about this Games. I have a playfulness in my nature which I had at my first Olympics in 2000.Theres always a trace of melancholy to the end of athletic journeys. After all, in their 30s, the greatest talent that young people will ever own is forever lost. Yet Bindra, right now, is too busy to play the philosopher. In April, in Rio, just hours after landing he was taking pictures of the Olympic range and mailing them to his mother. By the time he returned, his range in Chandigarh had been turned into a Rio duplicate. Same height of target. Same background colour. Same lighting.When he told me this, I grinned. I love the truth that he always wants to be a new and better and changed man. But this fastidiousness, this painstaking attention to minute detail, was one of the finest parts of his old self. And so even though this is his final Games and an emotional time, just remember, this is Abhinav Bindra. Indoor sniper. Perfections pursuer. Historys chaser. And so please, whatever you do, dont think hes on some sentimental expedition.Well, maybe just for a single second.Rohit Brijnath is a senior correspondent with The Straits Times, Singapore. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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