Guest Column

I have resolved to stay focused

As a professional athlete, I used to practise 5-6 hours daily, but suddenly found myself locked in. I decided to make the most of it. When the golf club opened after two months, it felt like the last round of a big tournament

I have resolved to stay focused

Tteeing Off: On day one, all golfers felt rusty on the course. Balance was missing; it was difficult to find rhythm in the swing. tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Jeev Milkha Singh

At the start of 2020, who would have thought that our lives would change so much in just three months!

Isn’t it amazing that a virus the size of 0.12 microns has the power to change our daily routine, our outlook towards life and what the future has in store for us.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every sportsperson in a big way because one is simply unable to follow a normal routine. In terms of practising, gymming, goal-setting and air travel, almost everything has changed.

As a professional athlete, I used to practise five to six hours daily, but suddenly I found myself locked in. What do you do, crib or make the most of it?

My outlook was to make the most of it. I am spending a lot of time with family. I have not done that for the last 26 years. Everyday, I feel like I make a great start to the day and end it in a great way. I am fortunate enough to have dogs in the house — I play with them in the morning, do yoga, which is more of meditation, for 45 minutes. From 10.30 am to 1 pm, I catch up with the news, talk to friends on the phone, do my work and have lunch. Then from 3.30 pm, we, my mom and dad, play a card game. You can say this is the new thing that I have learnt during the lockdown. I think it is important to deal with numbers. These things help you keep focused. In the evening, I do stretching and take dinner by 8 pm, watch some television. At 10:30 pm, I go to sleep. I repeat the whole routine the next day.

Like with everyone, the first week was tough. I was also fretting about being stuck in the house but things started getting better after three-four days. Times like these remind us that human beings are, after all, social creatures. They want a routine in life. If you are stuck in a situation like this, you have to mend ways to make the most of it. You find ways to make sure you remain focused, in a good mood, and take things positively.

I have always believed that the most powerful muscle in the human body is the brain. If you use it in the right manner, lots of things become very easy in life.

So, on May 20, when the restrictions were eased and the Chandigarh Golf Club opened, I was very excited to see the course. I could feel a strange adrenaline rush. When I entered the course, I felt like I was playing the last round of a big tournament! I realised that sometimes you take things for granted — things like playing, practising and then coming back and doing it all over again the next day.

It is important to show gratitude to life and God for what we have been blessed with.

My friends and family were eager to know whether I felt rusty on the first day. Yeah, I was quite rusty. I hadn’t touched the club for two months. I played some funny shots too. But it was happening with every golfer on the course. We could make out that the balance was missing. It was difficult to find the rhythm in your swing. Still, I was glad to be out in the open. Now is the time to get in the groove.

It becomes difficult for a person who travels 35 weeks in a year to stay at home. The excitement and pressure of hitting the shots — you miss all that, it’s a high for an athlete. But top-class athletes will find ways to make themselves busy and work on their goals and where they want to be in future.

Even though things have slowly started to come back to normal, I think tournament golf is not going to start till October. Sponsorships, too, will take a hit as people who put in money will first try to sustain their businesses. I hope and pray that a vaccine is found at the earliest and things would even out soon. Till then, I have resolved to stay focused.

— As told to Gaurav Kanthwal

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