Cricket, football, tennis, and hockey - A lot of us don’t care about any of them, sports in general. And some of us do. There’s something about the Indian Premier League that has given a sense of interrelationship to our community. And to us Chennaities and some from various other states (we know you exist), Chennai Super Kings became more than just a club, a long time ago. It isn’t just blind devotion because of how beloved this city is. It’s because Chennai Super Kings personifies hope.
American Novelist and Public Speaker Anne Lamott says, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” That’s the first thing that crosses my mind whenever I think of the esteemed Super Kings.
Not everyone was a great fan of the club at the beginning. Hell, people didn’t even have an idea about how big IPL was going to turn out to be. In the first season of the IPL, they were off to a great start. Though they did stumble along the way, CSK made it to the finals and lost to Rajasthan Royals. The loss did not deter any of the players and that’s something that everyone can learn from, especially budding entrepreneurs. I think I might have already mentioned it somewhere but I’ll say it again - “Failure is not just inescapable but also more importantly, a prerequisite for success.” You can’t ever succeed without tasting the bitterness of failure.
The second season was not the greatest for the Kings but damned if they let that discourage them. They came back much stronger the following season with Vijay, Raina, Bollinger and Ashwinbeing the key. Making it to the finals was never any trouble for CSK and they faced Mumbai Indians, who are rather considered the arch rivals and the tournament favorites. And CSK won the title by defeating the MI by 22 runs. I don’t think we need a better example for how hard work always pays off, but having faith in your team and giving everyone chances are essential to succeeding. Primarily, if you’re someone who hopes to have your own business and be known as a successful entrepreneur, it’s key to know that not everything can be done alone. You need to place trust in your team, especially after they fail. Everyone deserves to learn from their failures and a second chance to succeed. And it applies to you too, the aspiring entrepreneur, who will not succeed in your first attempt.
The 2011 season brought CSK a lot of consistency, when they slithered into the finals to clinch their second consecutive title. The coming two seasons were not the best. Though CSK made it to the finals, they couldn’t win the League again. But the 2014 season was quite remarkable. They made it to the final four, like it’s routine. In the round of second qualifiers, Kings XI Punjabsecured an unimaginable score of 229 runs. Out there, when hope wavered a little and the crowd a little dubious, came in Suresh Raina with 87 runs in 25 balls. They lost the match but that fight, that fire in Raina and the players would never be forgotten. That is what the Kings represent to its supporters - the uninhibited, unreserved and absolute will to fight. Moments and achievements like those are etched in everyone’s hearts forever, and it’s not specific to sports. Any business done with honesty, integrity and an ‘I might fall seven times but I’ll get up the eighth time too’ attitude will never be forgotten. We might hear the story of an underdog making it big a thousand times and never tire of it only because we relate to it. We at Studio 31 can attest to the fact that successes won’t matter unless it’s done with honor and virtuousness.
Then came the betting scandal and the prohibition of CSK in IPL for two seasons. This year, we witnessed the comeback of the Kings. The 2018 Indian Premier League saw the Chennai Super Kings cruise into finals with diligence and relentless madness, and win the title without breaking any sweat. Shane Watson had a magnificent innings, scored 117 off 57 balls and was named the Man of the Match deservedly. But the smooth travel to the Finals was possible only because of teamwork. The team persevered together and brought their experience, their training and their competitor analysis to the field which is no different from what successful entrepreneurs do every day to make themselves stand out from the crowd. Just because it’s been said and done over and over again does not diminish the importance of it.
It’s an incredible feeling, watching a team you support win. But it’s much more than that when you watch a team that personifies hope to an entire community come out victorious on the other side. Chennai Super Kings have built a dynasty out of nothing, out of darkness and out of rubbles. That’s something relevant not just to sport or entrepreneurship but also to everyone, in whatever they’re trying to overcome or succeed at in life.
So the journey of Chennai Super Kings is a story of hope to many. A story of unfaltering, indefatigable and unadulterated hope. Hope that crosses the realms of possibility and defies reality. And that’s exactly how it should be. Belief, hope and an oath to never give up. And good god, it pays off.