On Sportsmanship: Milkha Singh.

This evening, after his demise – on TV I was watching these series of old talk shows with ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh https://g.co/kgs/Jk9Rz1 starting with the one with Karan Thapar.

So many practical and theoretical lifelong teachings on true sportsmanship and values sports instils – by both my parents – came back to mind vividly. It’s two months since my mother’s passing and 15 years since my father left us and after much effort I’m slowly able to move beyond Ma’s passing and feel her eternal presence in varied walks of life.

I can relate easily to these attitudes that sportsmanship inculcates, of which both Milkha and his son Jeev spoke so spontaneously.
As both my parents were serious sports people – even if not in the top leagues like the Singhs. And all our lives, my sister and I were brought up with these values of true sportsmanship. How much we inculcated depended on so many other factors and experiences.
My mother among other things, along with the games/sports she excelled at and coached, followed by her MPhil and Phd; was the hony. secy of the Delhi University sports federation, also jury for swimming and gymnastics at the 1980 Asian Games in Delhi and after several other feathers to her cap, retired as Principal of a teachers training college also specialising in physical education.

My father, a businessman who ran his own printing press, once represented undivided Pakistan for Javelin and Discuss throws: We learned this from his close friend Satya Kaku – when he suddenly started to coach my sister at home after becoming enthused when she’d won the 1sf prize from Hoogly District among other athletics she excelled at. I distinctly remember how we laughted when he asked my sister to get her Discuss and Javelin – that he would show her the best techniques.

We sisters, participated in all school and college sports – especially basketball and won several prizes, though my sister was more champion material than I was, and was one of the rare school sports captains who was truly any good in sports. Most were made sports captains for their academic excellence and it made me quite exasperated back in school that some could barely run to save their lives. Yet looking back, this is what has developed patience, resilience and self confidence to allow people who are not in your league to take centre stage. My sister was school sports day champion too, even though I’d put in all my effort as well and come away with three prizes at least yearly. ☺️

My parents effortlessly carried away the first prize for the parents event at our school sports, after they were literally insisted upon by the teachers and Sisters to participate, much against their wishes – as they knew their real strengths.
Father even played Table Tennis and Volleyball effortlessly till his last years, atleast till about 68-69 years of age – versus the youth (below 30) in our Salt Lake – Calcutta residential block. And had won first prizes at 100 m races along with the youth, as he refused to degrade himself by participating in walking races with his age group of 65 plus.
So yeah, it was lovely to listen to these conversations with and about Milkha and summarise all that my parents taught us lifelong.
I feel blessed and overwhelmed at the opportunity I’ve had to strengthen myself. And I have to admit, that whether in my varied corporate stints or as novelist (800 m – marathon race) or as short stories (akin to 100/200m sprints) writer, also my poetry(Hurdle race) 🤓😛…I have mostly applied my learnings and values from my sports coachings!
My mother sometimes cited examples of Milkha Singh and few others in her attempt to make her points to convince us.
Most things I do today, lead me back to memories of my parents!

Sharing this story link below…was looking for a good writeup I could relate to – as just any depiction doesn’t work for me as the values the man stood for had to be established.
The one I relate best with is – not looking over your shoulder at opponents – has always worked with me since school races.
Incidentally I covered the ‘evergreen’ value factor in a poem I posted yesterday!

https://www.thequint.com/sports/milkha-singh-dead-passes-away-the-milkha-singh-i-had-the-privilege-of-knowing

milkhasingh #milkhasingh🇮🇳 #sportsmanship #sportsmanshipmatters #valuesmatter #values #integrity #evergreen #poetry #prose #prosepoetry #selfassurance #selfawareness #selflove #indianthletics

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