“Prepared to Win” by Hesam Noroozi

About the piece:

This was one of several creative readings delivered at our April 2024 Literary Evening with the NBM Lab.

This is a short memoir in two sections. The events described happened at an annual national student sport event. At that time, I was a track and field team member and a medical student in my internship dermatology rotation.

Prepared to Win

The picture shows one of the most exciting moments in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. It’s the time that the Russian athlete, Mariya Lasitskene won the gold medal after recovery from an injury. She won the high jump competition and the camera took this interesting moment of her emotional reaction.

Farhad was spraying his hairs and trying to keep them in their pompadour style. The rest of us were in stress and trying to concentrate on our final day of competition. It was a hot summer evening in 1998 and we were ready for the last day of the national medical student sport competition. We were not able to get more than 1 gold and 2 silver medals till that day, obviously far less than what we were expected to achieve. The only one who took a shower, shaved neatly, and was ready to go to the stadium was Farhad. As a champion runner in 100 metre hurdles, 200 metre hurdles, and high jump, it was acceptable for him to do what he wanted to do to be ready for the final day. That day we finished the competition and became the second university overall in the track and field medal ranking. Not a bad rank for our team. When the all-athlete team photo became ready, Farhad was shining among us: a neat, clean shaved medalist with groomed hair among others with unshaved faces and messy hair! He gave us two important lessons: first of all, do selfcare as a meditation practice. The second, and maybe more practical point was to prepare yourself as a good-looking winner in front of cameras!

In short, seeing Lasitskene as a gold medalist, with beautiful shiny manicure, probably with a precisely chosen ring, reminded me of Farhad and his complementary lessons for beginners.

Run for Life

I can clearly remember the moment. It was at the end of a training session, on a hot Friday evening of June 1978, that Ali, our faculty team coach approached us and gave us his most humane advice.

Almost always we were listening to his philosophical sports talk! He was posing like a professional speaker who talks to his people. Actually, I can’t imagine him without that gesture.

On that specific day, he compared a 400 metres track and field race to life. Ali stood in front of us and said: “Hey buddies, remember! A 400 metres race is your most life-imitating experience. You should start very quickly and in full speed in first quarter. In life it would be near to age 20 and in match, it’s the first 100 metres. Then, for the next part, you continue running with the same pace, with long steps; you should allow the flow of energy and speed from the previous part to push you forward. Then, in the third part, if you’re smart enough, you can pass your rivals in the curve very easily. This part is the most tricky but exciting time. And the most difficult part of the game, starts: the last 100 metres. This could be the final attempt to win the race. The life and death challenge happens here. All efforts should be done to finish it as quickly as possible.”

Then he looked at us and continued: “The last advice for you guys, if you finish the competition and you feel you still have energy, even a single ATP molecule, that means you betrayed yourself. This is the life’s success hack too.”

About the author:

Hesameddin Noroozi MD, MPH is a member of MCC and ACC. He has 25 years of experience as a family physician and clinical researcher. He participated in art exhibitions in Canada, France, and Italy and his have been cartoons published in various websites. He instructed the visual storytelling workshop in Synesthesia 2020.