MANILA, Philippines — Different cultures have a propensity for particular sports. Baseball is huge in Japan, football is a national phenomenon in Brazil and the Philippines will always have a soft spot for basketball. But to an ordinary bystander that is completely uninvolved in sports, the phenomenon is perplexing. Why invest so much time, effort, pain and sweat for what is really just a game?
When athletes get to master the game they evolve into national heroes and cultural icons. They will never reach that stature if their sport was a mere game.
The game is a glass image of life. What separates the hobbyists from athletes is not talent but drive. A rigorous match punishes all participants, but it’s a question of who takes the spotlight afterwards. With sports, you take it all in but with one end goal in mind. The prize, the glory and the moment are up for grabs until you decide to take it. And if you don’t take the chance right there and then, somebody else will.
Sports provide an opportunity for reinvention. You go through the ropes to improve and transform. To be a successful athlete, you need more than just a uniform and equipment. You need to have discipline and dedication. You have to spend hours conditioning your body and mastering your technique. You have to make sacrifices. A sport isn’t just the hour, or hour and a half that you spend on the field — it’s the 10,000 hours you spend training until you get it right.
If you have fifteen minutes to spare, use it to train. If the way is clear, then take the shot. Openings don’t wait for anybody. Take it or lose it. That is how a sport is lived, by being in the present.
By living and breathing this ethos, adidas aims to inject rigor into sports life with a riveting new film series that brings together some of the world’s top athletes that epitomize the sport they represent today. NBA stars like Damian Lillard, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and John Wall, as well as adidas football icons Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, and Luis Suarez make up the powerhouse line-up.
Each film sends the message: In sports, no one owns today — every minute of every game is up for grabs and yours for taking.
Embodying this mantra is FC Barcelona Forward and global football icon, Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian is hailed by some as the best football player in the world, and possibly even, of all time. At age 25, Messi had won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award as the World Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. But his achievements did not come without their challenges. At only approximately 5’7, Lionel Messi is one of the smaller players in the game. He was once referred to as ‘the flea’.
Diagnosed with a hormone deficiency, Messi’s growth was stunted at an early age. But FC Barcelona saw his potential and offered to foot the bill for his medication.
His family moved to Barcelona with no money and no jobs, hinging on the hopes that Lionel Messi would become big enough to be in the league and play football. It seems that they all made the right choice when they took that chance. At 17 years old, Messi became the youngest player on FC Barcelona to ever score a goal.
Since then, Messi has broken numerous records, scored dozens of goals, and won a handful of awards.
But what makes Messi an advocate of adidas’ campaign is not just his success story, but also his work ethic. “I have many years to get better and better, and that has to be my ambition. The day you think there is no improvement to be made is a sad one for any player,” is a famous quote of his. Grabbing opportunities that come and having this kind of singular purpose have propelled him up the ranks as a successful athlete and a meaningful icon.
In adidas’ new campaign, his video quotes him as saying “Everything that you think I’ve done. Any mark that I have established or records I have surpassed, they were not because I was thinking of my legacy. It was because I play each game as if it were the last. I live the day. I take today.”
These words sum up what it means to be an athlete, and it’s no surprise that it also applies to life. It isn’t just about who can run the fastest or who can make the most goals. It’s a lifestyle made for and by those who refuse to make do with what’s handed to them.
Winning in sports as with winning in life boils down to what you make of the opportunities that open up for you. Seize these moments. There’s no room for doubt or second-guessing. Take it.— Rappler.com
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