That moment of giving up …

I was watching the Australia, West Indies match tonight in which West Indies actually pulled a surprise when it beat Australia.
I was favouring Australia to win till the last minutes of the match, when the wicket of Clarke fell and I knew then, that the Aussies had given up on the match.

It’s a very funny feeling this … giving up on something.
Knowing that no matter what you try, what you do, you aren’t going to make it.
The thought of it is actually very depressing – who would ever want to give up on someone or something that they want real bad, but life is ruthless and more often than you’d like, you end up ‘giving up’ on the thing that you were chasing.

I have faced this situation a lot while playing basketball back in school and junior college.
We had one of the best teams while in school and we lost very rarely, so I was not hit by this feeling that often.

However, once we moved into junior college, people went in different directions, our team shrunk, and the 10 good players who’d play the 40 minutes shrunk to 4 or 5.
More often than not, we’d lose closely contested games in the dying minutes due to the sheer exhaustion that we’d experience towards the end of playing time.

I am guilty of giving up on many occasions, but all of them, as much as I can remember were due to physical (and fitness) reasons.
The series of events would be such …

You’ve been playing for 35 minutes continuously and you don’t have the stamina you had back in school. You are barely just able to run.
The other team is leading by 2 points. There are 5 minutes left in the game and you can easily win it.
At precisely this time, some random guy from the other team comes around, takes a three and makes it. Your heart sinks with the ball and you trail by 5 points now.
You are completely exhausted, panting, and want nothing more than to crash on the ground and lie there for eternity.
You are pushing yourself to run all the way across court to get in position for the pass. Somehow your team loses the ball, the opponents are on a fast break and you are chasing them.
At precisely this moment, a couple of thoughts will flash in your mind.

1. That you can’t take this anymore and you are going to die soon.
2. That this is just a game … is it really worth it?

I think the entire game turns around depending on the answer each player gives himself.
If everyone (or the majority) push themselves harder, your chances of winning increase a lot. Any rational person would definitely say that people need to push themselves … and stick with it – giving themselves a good chance.

However, nothing seems rational at that particular point of time. When you can hear your heartbeats distinctively, but not the voices of those around you nor the crowds cheering insanely.
More often than not, people give in … and the rest is history!

I was speaking to a friend of mine who recently took up boxing and did exceptionally well at it (he represented the state in his first tournament).

I asked him what made him give up sometimes, while he was boxing.
He thought for a while and said that boxing is a very tiring sport (and painful and very risky too). So while you are out there, fighting this random guy from another never heard of city, in some small town where nobody cares, you come to a point where you ask yourself whether it is worth it …
And there you get your answer …

I feel the trick here is to postpone the “Is it worth it” question as much as possible …
Every human being has a break-in point – and so, everyone can be broken … the question is to find that point and somehow avoid, postpone or hasten it depending on which side you are on.

Anyways, experience tells me that once you give up, there is no way even a miracle can save you … What I’d really like to know is why people give up in other life scenarios and what drives them to it …

4 Comments

  1. i think i was there when you had that conversation with the boxer friend… as you pointed out, often he gave up when he was in some godforsaken town where no one cared… it is human nature is it not- to want something very much only because you think that the others would value the fact that you have it. i mean you would not give up on something if you really cherish it, you only give up on things which you realize that you only want because of how much others might value your possesion of it. back in school, the basketball matches meant a lot because of how much you loved both the game and your school. each game was fought with every last ounce of energy available in the body because you played for pride. once out of school and into junior college(vincents notwithstanding) there was hardly any pride left to fight for. sure the team you were playing for carried the same name but without your old team-mates, the love for the game suddenly dwindled and with time, the pride involved.

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  2. Hmm …
    Very interesting point.

    Never thought of that …
    I don’t know exactly how much of it is responsible, but I am pretty sure it has a part to play in it :)

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  3. I had to ponder over that one for a while…why and when do I give up? I couldn’t come up with any one answer that I was fully convinced about but there are a couple of things that happen for sure when I give up. For instance when and if I give up, it’s usually a cause that I don’t hold close to heart. Secondly my giving up is not personally life threatening, so I can always come back to fight for the cause another day. Finally, the giving up will not make me lose face with people I hold dear. All in all, when and why we give up has a lot to do with our instinct for survival, our committment to the cause /activity in question, and who are the people who see us give up.

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