Kuppan was a good badminton player. His rise within the ranks of the badminton players of the school was phenomenal. One day he was nothing, the next he was a member of the school team.
In the School Championships, he sprang a surprise by knocking out the top seed, Richard Lee, in the semi-final. In the final, he easily beat his team-mate Abdul Rauf 15-3, 15-10.
He was the School Champion. It was unbelievable. The previous year he did not even get past the first round. This year he was the champion.
Success got into his head. He began to think he was really good. In fact, he had the audacity to tell Richard Lee and the others that they would never beat him again. He reckoned he was simply too good for them, in a class of his own.
Well, it was true that Kuppan was a good and skillful player. Hev had natural ability and talent. So he picked up the game very quickly and soon became the best. However, he did not realize that nobody can remain at the top all the time. What goes up must certainly come down. Kuppan thought he could stay up indefinitely.
The other players were enraged by Kuppan’s declaration. They resolved to train harder to beat the guy who had insulted them. They even trained on their own every day while Kuppan strutted around basking in his success. The State Individual Championships were coming up. So was the Interschool Tournament. The school’s coach worked hard to improve the school players. All of them trained hard, except Kuppan. He would miss training or perform half-heartedly. He was more interested in entertaining the admirers that had gathered around him. He thought he was pretty near invincible.
The State Individual Championships approached and still, Kuppan did not train seriously. He reckoned that he could be the champion without much problem. After all, he had just beaten Richard Lee who was the champion last year. So the championship must be his. He could take it easy. His pride was evident. His team-mates could hardly tolerate his superior attitude. They just left him alone, knowing that they could do nothing to change his attitude.
Kuppan was the top seed in the championships so he did not have to play in the first round. He watched the players sweat through the first round in the morning. He was due to play at night.
At seven-thirty, Kuppan stepped into the court confidently to meet his unknown opponent from some ulu place. It would not take long to finish this fellow, he thought.
The moment the first service was played, Kuppan found out it was not going to be as easy as he thought. He was strangely lethargic and had great trouble executing his shots. After ten minutes on the court, he was puffing and panting. A couple of minutes later he lost the first game 9-15.
He tried to make something of the match in the second game, but he could not. The unknown fellow was simply too good for him. Kuppan lost 1-15 in the second game. it was a real humiliation for him. He could not believe it but there he was, the top seed knocked out in the first match he played.
The next day in school the coach told Kuppan he had been dropped from the school team for the coming Interschool Tournament. Kuppan’s fall from grace was complete. He realized how foolish he had been. He now knew that pride comes before a fall. He had to learn this the hard and painful way. He would not like to repeat this ever again.
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