Sporting Life

Success lies in a strong culture of collaboration

As a student pursuing a degree in medicine, Socrates the Brazilian footballer required assistance. Time was his enemy for he was constantly flitting between controlling midfields and studying malignancies. And so - as Andrew Downie wrote in his book Doctor Socrates - his professors sometimes stepped in for they were men of learning but also fans. They rearranged lectures for him and rescheduled tests. All talent needs a route cleared for it.

Athletes stand alone in the arena but in a well-tuned world they are all the children of collaboration. Their training fields are the equivalent of sweaty furnaces where they are forged by coaches, physiotherapists, club secretaries, parents, planners, visionaries and even accountants. Every little bit matters. A shooter I know once got a rifle-butt-maker from Turkmenistan who spoke no English to help him.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2018, with the headline 'Success lies in a strong culture of collaboration'. Print Edition | Subscribe