“Poetry,” wrote Aristotle, “is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.”
A similar argument may be made for sport. Sport reduces life to its essentials and expresses its fundamentals in their purest form. Just as poetry expresses the universal through particular characters, sport expresses fundamentals through the actions of individual sportsmen. But unlike the characters in poetry, who are after all, mere figments of the poet’s imagination, the sportsmen are real. Sport then, is likely to fall short of poetry in its power to inspire, to embody the values of life. Perfection and purity is easier to achieve in poetry than in the life of a sportsman.
But once in a while, a sportsman comes along to prove that the difficult is not impossible, that a single-minded dedication can be maintained, that ability can be turned into excellence, that consistency can triumph over uncertainty. And such a sportsman transcends the sport, lends it meaning, makes it real.
Sachin Tendulkar is such a sportsman, and I am fortunate to have grown up at a time when my values could be shaped and sustained by the example of his greatness.
Thank you, Sachin.