Thunderous applause, elated audiences, cheers and shouts … that’s what the Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar walked into during the employee event at the adidas Group headquarters in Herzogenaurach! Especially our colleagues from India who are into cricket were beside themselves with joy. For everyone else, our colleagues’ excitement alone gave us goose bumps.
During the employee event, 25 employees had the opportunity to enjoy a private bus ride with Sachin. Furthermore, employees were invited to attend a Q&A session in the adidas Brand CenterThe adidas Brand Center is a high-quality exhibition and event hall, located at the adidas Group’s headquarters with total floor space covering 12,500m². It offers the ideal platform to present the values, concepts and product innovations of the adidas brand. It offers exhibition rooms, conference rooms and presentation areas as well as the "Walk of Fame", which highlights past milestones and future innovations of adidas. and also had the chance to have their picture taken with him and to test their cricket skills. Two of the lucky employees were Mohd Tabish Husain and Rohit Jain. I spoke to them about one – if not THE best – day of their lives and here is what they said:
How long before Sachin’s visit to the WoSThe World of Sports (WoS) is conceived as a campus. The area covers 39 hectares in the northern part of Herzo Base, a former military base a few miles outside of Herzogenaurach, Germany. It offers truly unique surroundings for the corporate headquarters of the adidas Group. Besides office buildings, it features sports and outdoor areas, state-of-the-art exhibition halls and an award-winning staff restaurant located on the banks of an artificial lake. The newly renovated comb-shaped office buildings house the majority of the Herzogenaurach-based adidas Group employees. did you know about it? And how excited were you during the days before he came to the WoSThe World of Sports (WoS) is conceived as a campus. The area covers 39 hectares in the northern part of Herzo Base, a former military base a few miles outside of Herzogenaurach, Germany. It offers truly unique surroundings for the corporate headquarters of the adidas Group. Besides office buildings, it features sports and outdoor areas, state-of-the-art exhibition halls and an award-winning staff restaurant located on the banks of an artificial lake. The newly renovated comb-shaped office buildings house the majority of the Herzogenaurach-based adidas Group employees.?
A couple of days before Sachin’s visit, a colleague of mine told me that Sachin would be coming to Herzo and 25 lucky people would get to go on a bus ride with him. He said 25 people would also have a chance to get autographed merchandise from the specially branded ST accessories. A day before the visit we got to know that our names would also be on that list. Our joy knew no bounds, after all, he is SACHIN, the God of Cricket. No one has come even close to him in popularity, talent and exploits on the cricket field. I called up all my friends (in different parts of the world) to give the good news about the lucky 25. At all the places (coffee, evening get-togethers and dinner) the only topic of discussion was Sachin. No one could sleep properly the night before his arrival. Most of the time went into rehearsing what to say to Sachin, what will we ask him, etc.
When Sachin entered the Brand Center the building transformed into a loud house with a great atmosphere. Describe the moment when you first saw Sachin and what went through your mind?
When we first saw Sachin, we could not believe our eyes. Here was the man we had idolised all of our adult lives. He has been a part of our lives for as long as we could remember. And here we were seeing him in front of our eyes. In person! No words can describe the feeling. Most of the people in the front rows were dying to shake hands with him and touch him to believe what they were experiencing was indeed real. People could not believe that this was THE SACHIN. Everyone was screaming at the top of their voices.
After each of Sachin’s sentences, the crowd screamed and cheered for its hero. Explain the meaning that Sachin has for India as a country and cricket as a sport?
Sachin started playing in 1989. India was not an open economy back then and the economy was in dire straits. There were very few real-life heroes to look up to. The IT revolution had not yet started. India was very low in the rankings in all of the individual and team sports. People watched cricket, but not with the religious fervour that they watch it with now. I was 8 years old and was oblivious to all the above things. Sachin went on his first international tour to Pakistan to face their dreaded bowling attack; he was 16 then. In one of the matches, he was hit on his head and it looked like he was clearly rattled. When medical assistance was provided to him, he refused. He was there to fight. This was the Indian middle class refusing to buckle down to external pressure and ready to fight, fight for survival. Since that day, Sachin and cricket have been an outlet for this middle class. Although IT and other revolutions have changed a lot of things in India for the better, that day on the cricket field and Sachin’s subsequent exploits have always been associated with the middle-class fight back. It reached a stage that when Sachin used to go out, people would stop watching the match. Here was a man who could compete with the best in the world and come out trumps. It has been rightly said in some circles “Cricket is our religion and Sachin is our God”.
What message do you have for Sachin?
Keep playing cricket, we need to defend our World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. The youngsters have started to shine a little bit in the team, but they need your guidance. If and when you decide to quit (can’t bring myself to think of that day), please always be associated with the game. There is a whole lot you can give to the game, even when you are not playing.
Can you name at least one other person that has the same or a higher status in India than Sachin?
There is absolutely no one in India who has a higher status than Sachin in India. Amongst other celebrities, Amitabh Bachchan, the movie star, comes second, but a distant one.
How high do you rank this day in your personal “best day of my life” table?
Up until now, this has been THE BEST day of our lives. We never could have imagined that we would meet Sachin in person. A dream come true. Thank you adidas!