Jodie Cook

January 10, 2022

When to celebrate

In 2018 I was in Australia, supporting my friend as she competed in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. 
 
One day I watched an England badminton player called Raj Ouseph play a men’s singles match against a Singaporean. The rules of badminton state that you must win by two clear points in a close set.
 
During the match Raj faced four match points. At each one, the Singaporean in the lead would celebrate. He would hold his index finger up to the crowd as if to say “just one point to go”. He never got that one point.
 
When it was Raj’s match point, the fifth of the game, he didn’t react at all. He stayed calm and played badminton. He got his two clear points and won, and only then did he address the crowd. The commentators described Raj as having the best temperament of any athlete they had seen.
 
There’s a lesson there beyond badminton. Celebrate when you’ve done the hardest bit. Celebrate when it’s in the bag and not before. Celebrate when losing concentration won’t cost you the win.

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