December 18, 2005

Up against it

Idle Sunday afternoon, and I got to reminiscing about the sports which I've played and loved a lot; and then wondering if I can ever gauge just how much better the masters are at them than I am.

For example: if I ever got on the same tennis court with John McEnroe, or Stefan Edberg, or Roger Federer, I feel pretty confident about knocking with them, just hitting back and forth across the net. (Actually, I have some small reason for this confidence: I have hit with a couple of pretty good US university players). But if we played a set, I have no illusions. I'd lose 6-0, and I'd be astonished if I won as much as a single point.

What about in basketball? One-on-one with Michael Jordan, how far would I get -- would he allow me to dribble longer than five seconds, let alone get off a shot, let alone score?

And cricket? How many balls would I last against Glenn McGrath, or Anil Kumble, let alone score a run, let alone hit a boundary? Of course, I always far preferred bowling to batting (not that I was good at either). So if I bowled to Rahul Dravid or Brian Lara, would I be able to produce even one ball that they wouldn't hit out of the park, let alone beat them, let alone get them out?

Tennis is the only sport in which I feel a bit of that confidence I mention. Is that because of these three sports, I play tennis best? Or is it a function of the kind of sport tennis is?


Anonymous said...


Interesting pick of names i must say. Most people wont even remember Edberg, one of my favorite tennis players.

And Michael Jordan....he is gone now. How about Shaq and Kobe.

Even in cricket, u pick McGrath and Kumble. How about the speedsters of yesteryears, especially the famed Windies...

and no tendulkar ??

Anyways....just kidding. Dont take this too seriously.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Arzan, Edberg and McEnroe are my all-time favourite players. Federer comes close, but I still think I prefer the smooth elegance of Edberg and the sheer variety in McEnroe's game. Have you read McEnroe's autobiography? An absolute must-read. "You Cannot Be Serious", it's called.

Yeah, Jordan is gone, but what a ballplayer! He and Larry Bird remain, for me, the ultimate NBA players I watched -- and they had some great games when they played each other.

Man, I would love to face the Windies quicks -- Hall, Roberts, Holding ... not that I feel like I'd be able to do anything with whatever they flung at me, but just for the feeling. It would be a terrific high, I think.

Tendulkar ... I get flak whenever I say this, but here you are. I think he is a genius, a great, great batsman. But I just prefer watching Lara and Dravid -- I prefer their strokes. Lara's compact energy, Dravid's fluid elegance.

Similarly, I've never cared much for Laxman's and Azhar's batting -- not that they aren't outstanding players, but I don't like their wristy style, that's all.