And there I was standing in the city of my Role Model- Stefanie Graf. Not believing my eyes, I rubbed my eyes twice to make me believe that I read the sign correctly. It read Las Vegas.
As a small girl growing up in a country where tennis was a far-fetched dream, to be able to watch tennis was a luxury not afforded by approx. 80% of kids of my age. I clearly remember my childhood being shaped by memories of Stefanie Graf and her matches. I was just 10 when I saw the match which completely changed my attitude in life.
The match is considered as one of the classic matches in Women’s tennis history. Stefanie was down 1-4, 15-40 in the third set against Jana Novotna at 1993 Wimbledon’s final. At that moment I thought- all is over and my favorite player will lose. I was so disappointed and was sitting with a bad mood. My mom asked me for food and I was- No , I don’t want to eat today. Everyone in my household knew my passion for Stefanie Graf and her matches so she didn’t poke me further. And then I saw a comeback which I had never imagined. Graf won the match. All was well for me but as I lay in the bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. I was staring at the wall above me and lost in my thoughts. When everyone had given up, here she was holding it strong trying to win. My small mind was asking questions- why do people give up so easily? Why did I give up? I was ashamed of myself that day when my favorite player didn’t lose hope, why did I? My last thought before I slept off was Apeksha- You will not give up in any situation now and if you do then you are not a true fan of Graf.
From that day, I never missed any single match of Graf that was shown on TV. I still remember how I used to crawl slowly to my parent’s room (which had TV in the night) at 3 AM to watch US Open matches. Without making a noise, I would switch on the TV, put it on mute and watch the complete match without making any noise scared a bit to wake up my parents and get a scolding for not taking proper sleep. But then Graf was my role model and I just so wanted to see her match every time to learn something new. And now when I look back, I still amaze in wonder about the things I have accomplished I my life.
I have done all the craziest things possible: be it traveling 6 times a week to study for my MBA and coming back to make sure my attendance is not short in my engineering course, be it coming back at 6 AM in the morning after a 10 hour journey and knocking on my friend’s door to know the syllabus to give my university exam at 9 AM, Arriving in the interview late by one hour as I was celebrating my friend’s birthday and clearing it with flying colors to land up a business analyst role when the company had come for candidates with technical expertise, the only girl to participate in 6 sports events simultaneously in 2 days winning 4 of them, built a basketball team from scratch when no one was ready, practicing in the mornings daily for one month before classes to defeat our senior team which people had thought as an impossible feat, taking up a supply chain summer internship when I had 3 marketing offers(my area of expertise) just to try out a new field and acing it to get a pre-placement offer from the No. 1 FMCG of the world, hosting a 1000 people event in my sixth month only to be complimented from Asia Head to be the best he has ever heard and the list can go on and on……
I had dreams and in order to fulfill them, I took on the impossible paths, people called me crazy but then did I care about them? No I cared about my dreams and one of it was to visit the city of the person who defined my life. And there I was standing in front of the sign that read Las Vegas!
One match and how it completely changed my life. People think of me as intelligent, talented, confident, gifted, lucky but the truth is I am none of these. I am just a common person with a simple mind, average IQ but armed with one lesson I learnt from my role model: Never give up on your dreams, try and try till you achieve them.
Dreams do come true. You just have to be confident about yourself. Doesn’t matter what people think of your dreams, they are yours. My advice- being a common person should not hamper you from dreaming- If you think you can- you will. I now have new challenges and new dreams after visiting the city of my dreams and I am ready to take them on- Are you?