Winners and Losers
I’ve been privileged to editorially cover the ATP indoor tournaments for 3 years now. My first experience of this was nerve-racking trying to get the best shots for my agency and at the same time starstruck when the GOAT walked on stage, aka the tennis court. GOAT means greatest of all time to those, like me, not so savvy with the acronyms of today.
Roger Federer is a marvel to watch and even greater fun to capture him through my camera lens. He is arguably the GOAT, so no one is a loser if they play him and subsequently defeated. How many tennis players can say they have played a competitive match with Roger Federer and through osmosis soaked up the atmosphere of the fans? He’s got that magical aura that very few champions have, that rare trait seen in few at the top of their game. People still route for/support him and want him to continue to win, despite the fact he has won so many championships.
Over the last two and half years, I have been educated on the art of sports photography by some seasoned professionals and have taken on board many of their tips going forward. It’s the action shot! The action shot! The action shot! While I love capturing the grace of Roger Federer, it’s the action shot that will inevitably be used in editorials, so I must part with my artist interpretation of a situation and concentrate on that ACTION SHOT! So now that my job is done for this recent tournament, I can indulge myself and look at the grace, the art, the sportsman that is Roger Federer.
Roger Federer is not just a winner because he wins matches and tournaments in the purest sense. He is a winner because he never gives up. He battles on even though he is in his late 30s, where many tennis players would have retired by now. He has this insatiable appetite to win and if he loses, he will try and try again.
My recent sports photography assignment allowed me to witness his Basel Indoor Tennis 10th win and his 101st Championship. He is a winner because he connects with his fans, the media and even his opponents’ fans. He shows grace in winning a match and determination for the next. As a subject, he is a joy to photograph and I’m always pleased with an outcome of an event shoot. Yes, I still remember the ‘…more action shots’ line by my agent in my ear, but you have to forgive me for capturing him the way I see him and his style of play – beautifully effortless.
This type of event photography story is all about the images, so let me share this with you more so than the words contained herein. Take a look at my photo essay that is Roger Federer.
How do we define winners today
Somehow it’s not just beating an opponent/team or being the first to cross the line. Winners encompass more than that. It is more than what you do in ‘theatre’, it is how you treat people around you, away from the theatre of work. It is how you pick yourself up from a loss, how you pick yourself up from ‘failure’
It’s the tenacious characteristics and magnetic personality that draws others to you or want to be you or at least with you. It is an individual who wears their crown with grace and not be boastful about accomplishments (however big, however small in other eyes).
It’s knowing the magnitude of your achievement and yet be humble enough to embrace your opponent/s at the minute/second of their defeat. It is thanking those around you that helped you achieve your goal.
Often there are a team of people working behind the scenes to help the winner win. They will feel victorious too. True and worthy winners will make sure at whatever opportunity they highlight their support team’s involvement and their effort and even their sacrifice in order to help you, the winner, reach this pinnacle.
Losers are not the ones that had lost a match, game, competition, race etc. They are just individuals that are, if you like, ‘winners in waiting’. The losers, the real losers are the ones who win and are selfish with ‘their’ accomplishments. Unfortunately, losers bask in the glory of their win without acknowledging others/those who helped to get them there. Yes, they have won something but they are far from winners. You see, that is the difference between true winners and losers. The funny thing about such losers is that their win on the grand scheme of things is so minuscule it is quite laughable to watch them bask in it. It’s temporary and short-lived, so breath a sigh of relief. There is a real difference between a win and a winner.
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