Monday, 2 March 2015

Sports beyond the field…

I needed no second invitation to take part in sports while I was at school.

I did not take any particular sport seriously, I played any game that came my way. My rendezvous with sports began very early and I took part in every annual school sports meet.
One day, when I was in grade seven, I had taken permission to visit the restroom. On my way, I saw a few girls throwing a shot-put, guided by a coach.

I stood there for long, watching them throw the heavy metal ball. I had no clue how much it weighed or why they were throwing it. I approached the coach and asked if I could try my hand at it.

The entire crowd burst out laughing. My ego was hurt and I hung my head down and walked slowly back towards my class. I was a very small-made kid and gave out the impression of being the studious sort. As I made my way back, I heard the coach call out to me.

I went back and he asked me to lift the shot-put. I picked it up and readied myself. I knew I had to throw it as far as I could. I gave the ball all that I had, and it reached a line that the previous throwers did not cross. That seemingly effortless push earned me a spot in the shot-put team and the school sports team thereafter!

The year after that, I studied about parabolic curves in mathematics. The distance traveled by an object tracing a parabolic curve is maximum when the angle at which the object is launched is 45 degree.

The following year we studied the same topic in physics and my mind kept going back to shot-put. After my tenth grade I started experiencing a shoulder pain and was forced to give up shot-put. I took to Javelin-throw instead.

I learnt the basic technique and since I possessed the knowledge (by now I had learnt the derivation too!) that ‘the maximum distance is obtained if θ is 45 degrees,’ I was able to correct myself and train better!

Willingly, I shared my new-found knowledge with the other sportsmen around me, though my coach often cautioned me against sharing such knowledge with my competitors!

Today, though life has gone beyond the sports field, both consciously and sub-consciously I have carried the learnings from the playing arena to real life.

I kept telling my children that they would not get into trouble if the tone in which they speak is mild, but clear and concise. I struggled to explain this better until yesterday, when we spoke about the maximum reach of an object tracing a parabolic curve.

I found myself using this as an analogy for effective communication.

“Our words have maximum reach when they bisect the two axes, the emotional quotient and the intellectual quotient making an angle of 45 degrees,” I told my kids. 

To be effective, use a tone that appeals both to the intellectual and the emotional sensibilities of the listener!