Month: March 2012

Keep Walking

Leslie walking

Disclaimer: I don’t drink Johnnie Walker. In fact, I don’t even drink. The closest drink I have that contains alchohol is Jolly Shandy… and this is not the dairy of a whimpy (old) kid.

World Cup 1994, I was supporting Brazil in the final. Italy was the last team to beat for Brazil to be world champ. Unfortunately, the player of that hour was in the enemy’s camp – Roberto Baggio. He was instrumental and almost single-handedly led Italy to this final. If he could be stopped, Brazil could lift the cup, I thought. Fast forward to the end of that game, it was tied; the winner had to be decided upon the dreaded penalty kicks. Brazil was steady and in the lead. Then stepped Baggio, his kick would determine if the contest continued or it was game over. He missed.

I observed something strange about myself many years after that final. I couldn’t remember any Brazilian players or what was the score that led to the penalty kicks in that game. But I remembered Baggio; how he did so well in the entire World Cup 94 competition only to miss that penalty in the end. Although he was in the opposing team I supported, I felt very sorry for him. A few years ago, I googled him out of curiosity. I wanted to know if he did ever recover from that lost game. What I stumbled upon in the net was a Johnnie Walker ad featuring Baggio. The one-minute TVC overwhelmed me.

In that ad, Baggio said, “I missed that penalty everyday for four years…”

Failure. It comes in different shapes and sizes. It stifles us and brings us back to earth. What’s worse, it nestles itself in our memory and constantly reminds us about the fall. Baggio lived with that missed penalty for four years. He was at rock bottom. Have you been there? I camped there numerous times in my life. It is a dark place with no movement. Baggio did not become a citizen there, he moved on. So did JK Rowling at one point of her pre-Harry Potter days when she was diagnosed with clinical depression and had contemplated suicide. She said after, “And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” So must we.

Do take a look at that Johnnie Walker ad where Baggio overcame the stigma of failure in the 1998 World Cup. Keep walking. 🙂