Not all athletes are sportsmen. Not all sportsmen are leaders. And a select few symbolize both sportsmanship and leadership as admirably as India’s most successful cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The dictionary defines a sportsman as a man who takes part in a sport, more so as a professional. Irrespective of affiliation, a true sportman’s allegiance is towards his country and team, and what spurs him on towards excellence in the sport: himself. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian Cricket Team typifies such a personality. With numerous occasions to deliver, he has more than proved his caliber in the world of cricket, becoming a household name in a nation that is dominated by its passion for the sport and across the globe.
A sportsman can also be defined in another context: he/she is a person who behaves sportingly, both on and off the field. Mahendra Singh Dhoni might be the most decorated Indian sportsman, but cricket is not the reason he’s travelled to Scottsdale, AZ, USA. It is to participate and play at a charitable golf event to support the brave and injured service men and women of the US and the Indian Army. The event has partnered with Wounded Warrior Project, one of the most prominent military and veterans charity service organisation in the USA.
Not many are aware of the fact that MS Dhoni’s proudest moment was not the time that he steered India to the 2011 ODI cricket world cup, but the moment when he was awarded the rank of honorary lieutenant colonel by the Indian Army. He is the only sportsperson in the world to have completed a para training program successfully attaining the prestigious blue wings. It befits a man who models his life on his sense of duty towards his country, his parents and his wife, and his team. Leading India’s national cricket team and representing the armed forces gives him that opportunity simultaneously.
In his own words, this is what Dhoni had to say about the upcoming golf event to be played on December 5, “Besides a great weekend of golf and camaraderie, it is the cause that we’re supporting which is even greater. I have enormous respect for service men and women across the world and I do hope that this event will help raise and donate substantial funds as an expression of our gratitude towards the two nation armies.