I’d just finished my morning run and was cooling down. Settling down in my favourite spot and sipping water, I spotted a group of 12-year-olds playing cricket closeby.
Now mind you, these kids meant business. They were playing with a season ball and wore appropriate gloves and helmets. And this was one of their routine early morning practice sessions.
I could hear their excited yelps and peals of laughter. One team was getting battered. Now, cricket is not exactly high on my list of favourite games. Glancing at my watch, I realised it was time to head home.
I was about to leave when I heard one of the boys screaming, “17 to win!” The excitement soon turned to disappointment when the batting side lost another wicket, their prize wicket at that. The opposite team shouted in glee, “One more wicket!”
Go for it
The last batsman took his position in front of the wicket. From the way the opposite team greeted him, I assumed they would polish him off in no time.
Nevertheless, the boy seemed very confident. I was curious now and wanted to watch the match for a while. I curbed my guilt pangs by telling myself that it would all be over within a few minutes.
The boy struck the first ball hard. Wow! I found myself following the ball and the boy, who was running really fast between the wickets. He managed three runs. I smiled.
With the next ball, he found an open space between two fielders and got two runs off it. I was interested in his next move.
Was I imagining this or did the boy notice my keen interest? He seemed to wait for my reaction to every stroke he played.. not surprising, considering I was the lone spectator and his solitary supporter, besides his teammates.
With every run, his teammates were screaming, “10 runs more.. nine runs more..” Suddenly the ground had been transformed into a battlefield. I felt as if I was about to witness a nail-biting finish to the match, the kind one watches on TV.
The kid was on a rampage now. He looked like someone who was defending his honour as well as that of his team. Now I wanted to know the outcome of this match. I stayed put in my seat.
Just when it felt that he would meet his target soon, he was out. The excited shrieks of his teammates were replaced by the jubilant cry of victory of the opposite team. Perhaps, in a strange way, I had inspired him to put up a good fight. It felt nice.
Now I had to leave. My instincts prompted me to congratulate the kid for putting up a good show instead of buckling under pressure. But I just smiled to myself and walked home, to get ready for another day.
But this little incident reinforced the saying — “Never underestimate anyone.” True, you never know what they might become. The potential for greatness lives within each one of us.