Clearly, there is a fine line that divides insanity from the desire to excel. In my opinion, athletes are forever walking this absurd line. I mean, what would drive a person to go to the most obscure places, stay in flea-bag hotels (probably the variety that’s looked down upon by actual fleas ) and put up with smug officials just to compete!
I am always a wreck before competitions, this is clearly evident to anybody who knows me — my helium voice and frayed nerves bear testimony to the actual state of affairs. And yet, I can never walk away from the next challenge! This thought came to my mind when news of Sania Nehwal’s rankings came in. The glamour sports such as cricket and football may have the added toppings of “moolah” but, the truth is, what unites and is the common denominator for all sports-people is that drive to compete and of course to excel ! And, sometimes, you pay a huge price for that discipline. Ask me, I am a walking testament to what a boring and regimental life athletes lead.
So what is this that we put ourselves up for? The rush of dopamine? For the ignorant, dopamine is identified as the elusive chemical that is the key to human happiness! Scientists claim that it lights up the pleasure centres of the brain (this also happens when you fall in love or eat chocolate) So is it all about the dopamine rush? Could that be what athletes crave?
For me, shooting is a lot like a tempestuous all consuming love affair. I rage when it goes badly, rave and rant at what I feel are the unreasonable demands it puts on me and feel ecstastic the rare times it goes well! This may not quite be a Taylor-Burton situation, as there is fortunately no divorce(s) and re-marriage yet, but it is an amazing roller-coaster !
I’m now off to Serbia... So far, the helium voice and nerves have not kicked in but invariably they will. Typically in the context of a competition, not because the Serbian women are so beautiful that they could very easily have a rather similar effect! I hope to get my dopamine fix and come back smiling... For now, the love affair remains with my rifles but watch this space for further developments !!!!