Monday, August 6, 2012

De-pressurizing a national hero so that he can finally win.

Last night, 28 million Malaysians witnessed a heartbreaking moment.  Yes, we were disappointed with the lost of our first gold medal from just 2 points away, but that wasn't the most heart-wrenching part.  Our hearts broke when our dear champion, Lee Chong Wei fought hard to hold back his tears on the silver podium.

He was just two points away.  And it was a really extremely eye-opening heart-gripping 3-match game between him and China's Lin Dan.

I've always thought that Lin Dan was a faster player.  His speed is almost unmortal-like.  Every time Chong Wei is fast, Lin Dan is faster.  Always seemed to be half a second faster and that half a second seems to make a hell lot of difference.

Or is it?

Personally, watching Chong Wei played so many games against his nemesis, I think they are just getting better and better, feeding on each other's skill and upping the challenge.  Well, Chong Wei is definitely getting better and better, closing his scores against Lin Dan in every match.  Though he always carries a cool, calm and collected posture, we could only imagine what it must have felt to have the hopes of an entire nation rested upon one shoulder.  His.  Every time.  All the time.

And therefore I thought, perhaps the secret to winning Lin Dan is not about his physical skill, which to me, Chong Wei is already pretty immaculate.  Perhaps the way to win the game is for him to have a strong second national player.  A competition.  A partner.  Someone to help him shoulder the nation's hope, someone who can half his burden, so that he can finally concentrate on winning the opponent on the other side of the net.  And not focusing on how he would be disappointing millions if he doesn't bring back the championship.  The single biggest proof of this is when he tweeted, 'I'm sorry' after the match.  And you know it's not a physical fight that he has succumbed to but a mental one.  I mean why on earth would a 2-point-to-Gold Olympian who arose from hundreds of other professional players to bag a silver at the Olympics apologise?  If it wasn't because he felt that he HAD to and that he had disappointed millions.  Lin Dan could hack it because he has Chen Long and if it wasn't Chen Long, there are a troop of others (athletes can be manufactured in China anyway).  But who can Chong Wei rely on?

The strategy of winning isn't just focusing on the match at the time of game.  Perhaps, it's really to look outside-the-box and search the core of the problem and fixing that first.  Offload his shoulders, Malaysian team!  Step up.  You have to really step up if you want Chong Wei to win.  Ironic isn't it?  In order for one person to win, you need a few more to rise up.

Anyway, this is just MHO.  And I guess to have Chong Wei as our national emblem, we are already winners. 

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