Ishaan was the swimming champion and he consistently won the championship from the past three years. His school was very proud of him along with his parents. He wanted to pursue a career in swimming only which is why he wanted to win the championship title every year. But, his consistent wins had made him a win-hungry boy. He always made sure that no other kid from his locality could participate in the swimming competition. Either he used to inform their parents about fake deaths and dangers associated with the sport due to which they usually panicked and withdrew their kids or else he never let them practice before the competition. And as usual without a proper practice, others would lose the competition and those who were still good in their sports, failed to compete with Ishaan.

However he decided to compete in a fair way in this year’s swimming competition which is why he didn’t adopt any unfair means rather increased his practice schedule. His parents started to worry about his determination and his growing obsession with this swimming competition. One night when he returned back after seven hours of continuous training, his mother decided to confront him.

“Ishaan, please look at yourself. You are working out yourself with all these regular vigorous practice. Stop it Ishaan. This competition is not as important as your health. Why are you so desperate for winning the title? No harm will come your way if you lose it.” Ishaan fumed at her words and went to his room without saying anything.
From that day, no matter how much his parents pleaded, he didn’t pay any heed to them and continued with his daily routine. The only difference this time was that he started to practice through out the day, not giving a fair chance to anyone else. Time went by and it was finally the day before the competition. Ishaan was returning back from the swimming club when suddenly he met with an accident. The accident was not so severe that he had to be hospitalized but it wasn’t so meagre to be ignored. He broke his ankle and there were bruises on his legs and hands that were oozing out blood.
Somehow gathering himself, he limped to his house and threw open the door. His parents were startled to see him in that condition. No sooner he entered the house than they rushed towards him and supported him to the couch.

“Go and bring the first aid kit. I’m calling our family doctor”, his father exclaimed in concern when his mother rushed inside sobbing.

“Dad, leave it. Don’t call the doctor. I am fine. Let me sleep for a bit. Tomorrow is my competition and I can’t miss that”, Ishaan spoke with gritted teeth while closing his eyes in pain. His father shook his head and sat beside him while cleaning his wounds with a wet cloth.

“Ishaan, when I was of your age, I wanted to pursue my career in archery. I even won many competitions and wanted to compete on the national level.” Ishaan turned his head towards him and sat comfortable on the couch, albeit with difficulty.

“You were an archer?”, he spoke loudly in disbelief when his father nodded his head.

“Then why didn’t you pursue your passion and moved on to some other line?”, Ishaan’s father stood up from his place and went towards the basin to throw the water.

“Because one day I saw a man getting arrested by the police for beating the life out of his opponent. He was a boxer in our locality. He lost all his reputation, his stardom, his spirit to win on that day. Then I realized that competition doesn’t always bring happiness and satisfaction. It is not necessary to win every time. Some time we must sit back and give others a chance,” his father spoke softly while sitting beside him. Ishaan lowered his head in shame and stared at the floor. His father understood his dilemma and put his palm on his knees in assurance.

“Ishaan your fieriness won’t remain throughout your life. Take today’s example. Tell me, do you think you can win the race tomorrow?”, his father asked him when he nodded in a no.

“See, hurdles will always come in your way and sometimes you will have to accept your defeat. You can’t always put up your competitive nature and continue to fight against your opponents. Ishaan , the true competition of your life is to learn to accept defeat and rise from that loss. These competitions are here today and may not be there tomorrow. So don’t push yourself to win these meagre things. The real competition is the fight with your fears and your weakness. Try to fight and win that. Not these”, Ishaan had tears in his eyes by the time his father finished.

Immediately he engulfed his father and apologised to him. Later in that week, when he was finally able to walk a bit, he returned to the swimming academy and began practicing again. But this time he didn’t train to defeat others, rather he swam for the sheer fun and enjoyment inherent in the sport.


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