During my posting at Kolkata, I used to play lawn tennis at the South Club of Kolkata. It is one of the most prestigious clubs of Kolkata, which has produced many national level players like Leander Paes. It was a real joy to play there and because of my consistency in the game, I had become quite popular among the members of the club.
I had a friend who had introduced me to the club. His son also used to play there. He was good at the game but appeared to be somewhat too proud of himself. One day, he was playing a match with me. He being like my son, I took it easy and allowed him to win the first set with a comfortable margin. Immediately, I noticed that this win had gone to his head and instead of respecting my gesture he appeared even more proud.
Since I wanted to give him a message, I started playing seriously in the next set. He was not prepared for this and lost to me 6-0. This upset him so much that he started checking the balls, the height of the net, the guts of the racket and when he found nothing wrong with them, he became sad. I approached him affectionately and said that a good player never blames the tools. The problem with him was that he lacked humility while playing and also respect for the opponent’s game. While he was a good player, he underestimated his opponent and that is why he lost by a big margin. I also told him that while these qualities were necessary for a good sportsman, they were equally important for life.
The boy took my words seriously and was upset with his own behaviour. I knew he was an intelligent and smart boy with great potential and these were only minor aberrations, which needed to be corrected as soon as possible. His realisation of the same at my suggestion pleased me too.