Coming from a performing arts background, it was natural for me to appreciate the experience, training, endurance and devotion that go into the making of any successful sports player. For some reason, the similarities between sports and performing arts were apparent to me at an early age. That is when I got attracted to athletes, sports and sporting events. If I had to break it down to just one thought or one sentence, I love sports because of its ability to connect individuals, team members, fans and people with distinct backgrounds and cultures all under one roof. Sports do not know religion and all competitors are equal there.
My favourite sport has to be Cricket and the main reason is because that it combines both the features of a team game and individual sport. It is one fascinating sport that adds multifaceted dimensions to its players. The crucial run-outs, vital catches and clinical finishes contribute to all the non-stop action and drama. It can give you last minute thrills because results can completely change in the last over. The on-field aggression and even a dot ball can be exciting to watch as at times that can just save a player from getting out! One day international and test matches take a lot of time to complete but cricket has evolved and found a new face in form of Twenty20 International. This shorter version offers the ultimate thrill of cricket.
While fandom is personal and one can define it under their own worldview and personality, there is one more reason why I love cricket so much. The man who revolutionized the game for me and made cricket more than just entertainment is Sachin Tendulkar. In my opinion, he redefined the reputation of the game and added fuel to the love affair of cricket and cricket fans. He is the first batsman in history to complete 34,000 runs in (ODIs+Tests+T20Is) and has been named as one of the leading Asian Heroes by Time Magazine. His career over the last 21 years and his 50th Test hundred only confirms the volume of talent Sachin has and his dedication and commitment to cricket.
On that note, here’s sharing a bit about my all-time favourite sports personalities :
1) Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, an Indian cricketer is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen in One Day Internationaland second only to Don Bradman in the all time greatest list in Test cricket.In 2002, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman, and the second greatest one-day-international (ODI) batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards.Tendulkar was a part of the 2011 Cricket World Cup winning Indian team in the later part of his career, his first such win in six World Cup appearances for India.He was also the recipient of “Player of the Tournament” award of the 2003 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa. Tendulkar has been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan award, India’s second highest civilian award, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour. He was also the first sportsperson and the first one without aviation background to be awarded the honorary rank of Group Captain by the Indian Air Force. Tendulkar has received honorary doctorates from University of Mysore and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. As of 17 March 2013, Sachin holds the 19th rank in ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. On 23 December 2012, Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODIs. Tendulkar has already stated that he will not be playing T20 Internationals.Tendulkar announced his retirement from IPL and Twenty20 cricket shortly after Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 26 May 2013 to win the Pepsi 2013 Indian Premier League.
2) Florence Griffith Joyner
Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the “fastest woman of all time” based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 metres and 200 metres still stand and have yet to be seriously challenged. She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38. She attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Flo Jo was glamourous. She wore 4-inch fingernails in bold colours, tiger stripe and animal print. They were originally 6.5 inches, but that prevented her from styling her hair. She ran the 1987 World Championships in a hooded silver bodysuit and she frequently wore the “one-legger”, which exposed one muscular leg entirely. Her clothing was always brightly coloured, often fluorescent and teamed with bold custom-made jewellery. Once during a race her nail flew off; afterwards she walked back down the track to find it. Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune commented on ESPN, saying “she was someone who wanted to make a fashion statement, as well as do it while running so fast you could barely see.”
3) Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés “Leo” Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country’s national football team. By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2009, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, and again in 2011 and 2012. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. At age 25, Messi became the youngest player to score 200 La Liga goals. Messi is the first football player in history to win four FIFA/Ballons d’Or, all of which he won consecutively, and also the first one to win three European Golden Shoe awards. Messi became the first player to top-score in four successive Champions League campaigns. He set the European record for most goals scored in a season during the 2011–12 season, with 73 goals. On 16 February 2013, Messi scored his 300th Barcelona goal. On 30 March 2013, Messi scored in 19 consecutive La Liga games, becoming the first footballer in history to net in consecutive matches against every team in the league. His playing style and stature have drawn comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his “successor”.
4) Maria Sharapova
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is a beautiful Russian professional tennis player who as of May 27, 2013 is ranked World No. 2 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and is the top Russian player and the only one in the top 10. Sharapova has won twenty-nine WTA singles titles, including four Grand Slam singles titles. She has also won the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2004. The WTA has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 weeks. She became the world no. 1 for the first time on August 22, 2005, and last held the ranking for the fifth time for four weeks from June 11, 2012 to July 8, 2012. Sharapova has also been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been featured in many advertisements, including for Nike, Prince, and Canon, and is the face of several fashion houses, most notably Cole Haan. Since February 2007, she has been a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, concerned specifically with the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme. In June 2011, she was named one of the “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present and Future” by Time and in March 2012, she was named one of the “100 Greatest of All Time” by Tennis Channel.
5) Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the best defensive players in basketball. Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’s list of athletes of the century. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Jordan is also noted for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today.
What’s your favourite sport and who is your favourite sports personality?