Stoke preview + Nadal carrier in doubt?

Arsenal travel to Stroke today. Trips to Stoke have historically been unpleasant with their long balls and physical game and being cunts in general. We have won 1 and lost 2 of 4 matches at Stoke in recent past. Scezney seems to be a doubt for this clash but Alex Ox is back in the team and Koscielny will be back for Liverpool.

Elsewhere in the premier league, Chelsea seems to have got onto a good start to the season winning their first three games. On the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool is in for a difficult time as they are sitting at the bottom of the table may continue to be there as they are due to play Man City today. Van Persie scored on his full Man U debut yesterday. Asshole.

So we sit at 12th position on the table currently. If we win, we go up to 6th although a Man City victory will see us drop to seventh. A glance at the table tells me that after 2 games, the top 5 includes Swansea, Fulham , West Brom and Everton. With Tottenham and Liverpool having slow starts to the season, we should be in the top 4 in coming weeks.

Yesterday I read an article which went into an in depth analysis of Rafa’s injury. It seems he had a career threatening injury when he was 19 and was forced to wear modified shoes to further his career. But that meant increased stress on his knees and back which meant his career was always going to be a short lived one. Tony Nadal expected to get 2 years out of Rafa at the end of 2005. He got 7. So in that sense, we are lucky to have seen Rafa play for as long as he has. But the injuries have caught up with him and he is facing a difficult time getting fit for the tour again.

There have been no indications that Rafa’s career is over. Even if it got over today, I won’t gave any regrets. He has played some memorable matches and been at the top of perhaps Tennis’s greatest era. He has nothing left to prove now. But I still pray that he gets fit and comes back to play again. The guy has been a real inspiration for people.

There are a lot of things one can learn from watching Rafa. When you watch him, you know that nothing comes easy in life. When you come up against genius in life, like he did against Federer, you need to grind your teeth, endure the pain and keep pushing until your opponent breaks. If you want to be great, if you want to be at the top then you have to be dedicated to your task. Don’t slack off. Don’t fumble. Concentrate on your task. Try to be on your best everyday.

No human can ever outdo himself. You can only do your best. So try to do your best everyday. And be humble. One of Rafa’s most endearing attributes is his behavior off the court. It is terribly easy for a beggar to be humble. He has nothing to be proud about. But as you move up the social ladder, as you get bigger in public life, it becomes harder to be humble about yourself. It also becomes more significant because as you get bigger in public life, more people are affected by your behavior. Positively and negatively. It doesn’t matter what you do privately, you have to be at your best when you are in the public.

The best thing that I have learned form Nadal however is that one should always know himself. Having a perspective of your inner self helps you tackle the shit that gets thrown at you outside. Be aware of your strengths and you limits. Try to push your limits but be aware of the threshold beyond which you will fall. Try to use what you have to your advantage. Adapt as situations and demands change. And don’t complain. Never ever complain.

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