- Any sport - especially when you're playing for a team, or a region or a country, loads one with a high degree of responsibility. Imagine how so many people collectively are looking to you to deliver and provide them with their moment of glory. I can't begin to imagine the pressure Tendulkar feels when he on the pitch. 900 million Indians wanting him to convert a delivery into a six. 900 million Indians wanting a few runs more from him to win a match. Even better, think Michael Schumacher - he crosses nationalities, as scores of F1 enthusiasts want the Westmeister to tame the rain and win a race.
- While playing in a team, the individual really slinks away into the background. Ask Schumi and he says that winning the constructor's championship means more than winning an individual title. Why? Because the team achievement is a collective effort and winning a title for the team is an actual reward for this team effort. Team effort is not just individual sparks of genius, but it is rather the perfect harmonization of each one's talent coupled with strong synergies.
- There is a story that when Michelle Obama took Barack home to meet her family, her brother took Barack to play a game of basketball. His logic was - observing Barack's manner of dealing with the ball, in terms of the quantum of time he held on to the ball versus the amount of time he spent passing it along fluidly through the game, would display his degree of selfishness!
- In any team sport, one needs to strategize on the field. The coach can discuss a thousand different formations, strategies, expected behavior and so on. But when the ball is passed to you on the field, it is up to you to decide whether to kick it all the way to the goal post or whether to pass it to your colleague standing 10 yards away. And this decision is to be taken in light of the fact that your opponent is sprinting towards you really fast with that goal post in view. And you must also bear in mind the fact that if you pass the ball to your colleague, an unexpected opponent could materialize out of nowhere rendering your strategy worthless. At that time, you need to switch effortlessly to plan B within seconds and keep moving on.
- Putting up with destructive criticism. In cricket, it's called 'sledging', where an opponent plays mind games on a player, by trying to unnerve her. Either through insults or snide comments, or any other way of irritating the player, the opponent attempts to disrupt her cool and thus tilt the psychological balance against the player. How does one then deal with such destructive criticism? Certainly not in the way Zinedine Zidane dealt with it in 2006!
Each of these qualities - responsibility, selflessness, thinking on your feet, team work and dealing with criticism are key elements to be mastered in the world of business. What would you rather do? Learn these skills in a class or while fighting fire in a boardroom? Or would you rather learn it over an invigorating game of soccer or basketball?