These days, if your parents don’t ‘discover’ you, by the time you are two months old (in the womb), forget about making any serious headway, as an athlete or a sportsperson.
It appears that the parents can pretty much decide, what sport the kid will be good at and more often than not, the kid conforms to that decision and makes a splash.
Can you imagine where Tiger Woods would have been, if his father had not ‘discovered’ him? I do – used car salesman. But the funny thing is that the game golf, was decided by his father. He owes 90 percent of everything he will ever have to his father.
What about Agassi? Had his father not decided to turn him into a tennis star, he would still be busting tables in Las Vegas. What I never get is how these stars, not only refuse to give due credit to their parents, but at times, get estranged and at times, bad mouth them. Point is: Tennis was decided for him by his father. We would never know, if he could have been a better golfer than a tennis player.
Sharapova? How do you freaking decide, if a particular sport is a match for your kid. The parents just arbitrarily decide the sport based on their likes and dislikes. Could she have done better as a basketball player instead? I am sure, Yuri had no idea, her daughter would grow that tall. Both her parents are short.
Could that piece of information, if provided to Yuri, have steered him from not selecting tennis or was he bent on living his dreams through his daughter.
This perspective gives me added admiration of ‘self-made’ superstars, if there is any such entity in its purest form. Closest you can get to, would be Sampras, Lendl, Laver, Jordan, Armstrong etc. who made their own decisions, and made everyone and everything else, conform to their selection of sport.
That is a much harder road and a lot more sweeter. That’s why you will notice, most truly purist ‘elite’ in any freaking game, would come from these ‘self made’ stars, if you will.
Others that come to mind are Mohammad Ali, Pele and Bradman.
I think these self-made stars have more hunger and motivation, and are more likely to break new ground or records in their chosen sport. Check any sport, and you will find this to be a rule, rather than an exception.
We all perform better, when we take full responsibility and hold no one else accountable for our deeds and actions. These ‘spoon-fed’ stars may reach the top, due to an early start and the eternal scaffolding built by their parents, but very rarely will break fresh ground, as far as new records are concerned.
That, I think, is the essential difference between Federer and Nadal. Federer makes his own decisions and lives and dies by them. That is powerful, and the success with that paradigm, is a thousand times sweeter and rewarding.
Nadal had a head start due to his uncle, and has had that constant pole to lean on. That takes something out of the natural make up of us humans, to go beyond the wall and set a precedent.
Of the younger generation, Murray has had the same structure with his mom being a tennis coach or something. But Djokovic does not belong in that category, and that’s why he will have a better outing than Nadal, Murray, Gasquet etc. when he is done with his tennis career.
Have you ever seen sons joining their father’s business when they grow up? Compare them to guys who go out and start their own business. Just their body language, will tell you volumes of where the two groups will end up, before they die. You don’t have to even know anything else about them.
Are you freaking getting where I am going with this, or you just have one hand on your computer?