"We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility."— Rabindranath Tagore
Let’s congratulate Marion Bartoli and Andy Murray who won Wimbledon 2013 Women and Men Grand Slam singles titles. Andy Murray made Britain proud by winning this title for his country after a long gap of 77 years. But what makes this Wimbledon memorable is the victory of Marion Bartoli. Barely had she started her march towards her victory over Sabine Lisicki and had started smelling the sweetness of success, there came some sour words from a presenter of BBC. Bartoli’s magnanimous response after the victory is sure to warm the cockles of your heart but it also leaves us with some lessons of life.
These are the words from John Inverdale (‘one of ... most experienced presenters’ of BBC), speaking on Radio 5 Live, “I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, 'listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. ...You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5ft 11, you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that...” Enough to make you and us cringe with anger.
But Bartoli, after the match, responded to these comments of Inverdale in remarkably gracious manner. She said, “I invite this journalist to come and see me in a ball gown and heels and, in my opinion, I think he may change his mind.” Further she said, “It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it. .... I am sure I will be able to watch the DVD of the match over and over again and look at the picture of me when I am holding the trophy in my arms. That is the most important thing to me and not what I can do outside of the court.” Wow! What a reponse!
Oliver Brown in The Telegraph said, “To listen to Marion Bartoli is to wonder how John Inverdale, or indeed anybody else, could dare to be uncharitable. She is quite possibly the most thoughtful, magnanimous and delightfully quirky ladies’ champion that Wimbledon has had.”
To be a champion at Wimbledon, regarded as ‘Mecca of Tennis’ requires dedication, hard work, determination, nerves of steel and lot more but certainly not physical traits as suggested by Inverdale in his comments. We can learn this from Bartoli when she says, “For children who want to be a tennis champion one day, it gives them the will to be a professional player. .. If it was just Serena taking all the slams, then people might start to think: ‘Why should I try?’ Then they see me who is not very tall, not very fast, just a normal girl winning a grand slam. That is a good inspiration for some girls.”
Life is not all about winning. It is also about caring and having compassion towards your opponent. This is what was evident when Bartoli after the win was surrounded by the euphoria of success but her heart was feeling the pain of Lisicki. Bartoli told press, “I felt I wanted to take her in my arms at some point. I felt so sorry for her – it was hard to see her like that. To cry on court during a Wimbledon final, you must feel so lonely. I just wanted to help her, tell her: ‘It’s OK, it’s just a tennis match.’ The hug we had after the match was extremely sweet. It was just perfect, showing our human values.” Simply Great. This is called magnanimity.
When a person with normal attributes achieves something great, it becomes a great source of inspiration for others to do the same. The success of Marion Bartoli and her humility in character is sure to make everyone believe in principled winning and joyful living. She has established that our previous defeats make us stronger to achieve bigger goals in life, and our determination is far superior to our physical traits. And at last, a nice girl can finish first.
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