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Words That Worked as First Aid

BY Prashant Deorah

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Sometime back I was dragged to a school sports event by a dear friend whose son was appearing in the heats for the 400 meters Interschool Hurdles competition. I had just come back the previous night from a gruelling 10-day business trip, and the last thing I wanted to do was to attend some school sports meet. But since this was a request from a friend I valued, I dragged myself to the arena edge, ready to cheer on my friend’s kid.

The first race was preparatory, and all the competitors lined up. On the count of three, the boys began their race to the finishing line. Pratap, my friend’s son, was doing well, and he was in the number three position till the 100-meter mark when he tripped on the hurdle and fell face forward. There was a collective gasp in the audience since he was the school’s favourite. The Coach ran up towards Pratap, who was writhing with pain with a muscle cramp and disappointment. He immediately administered first aid and began massaging his bad leg.

We ignored the rest of the race and ran toward Pratap and the Coach. That’s when I heard what the coach had to say – “Pratap, don’t worry you have three days to the Interschool meet- and you should be glad that this incident happened during the heats and not during the finals. Just don’t take this as an omen or a sign. Instead, just think of the next two days before the competition as a hurdle you must cross like the hundreds you have cleared earlier. Remember Pratap, life will knock you down, but it is up to you to remain down or stand up and RUN!”

The last line illuminated itself in my mind and thoughts – it’s up to us to remain down or stand up after the knocks that life delivers. What a succinct way to describe a winning attitude!

It made me rework how I lead my team- and I promised to be more of a mentor and a coach, rather than a leader who eggs people on objective grounds alone.
After all, life does knock us down periodically, and at such times, you need someone like Pratap’s Coach to get you back in action.

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