Michael Schumacher can’t go out like this

German magazine Focus claims doctors have given up hope of reviving Formula One legend Michael Schumacher from an induced coma. He has been lying in a hospital bed in France since December last year, when his head smashed into a rock in a skiing accident.

While those close to Schumacher insist attempts to bring back the seven-time world champion are still on, my heart tells me the reports of Schumacher slipping can’t be true — simply because he can’t go out like this. No.

His life has been grand. And when the end comes, it needs to be only too grand.

Schumacher is the epitome of the phrase ‘larger than life’. The iconic tale of his life and career transcends sports, much like Sachin Tendulkar’s. Even those who don’t know the first thing about motorsports have heard of Schumacher.

They have heard there exists a man who drove with nerves of steel; a man who is outrageously rich because of how good he is at his job.

Back when I was 13, I used to call the driver of my school bus ‘Michael Schumacher’. Why? Because he took the wheel of a vehicle so huge and made it move like a nimble buggy. I knew little about professional racing then, but I knew who Schumacher was. To millions, racing and Schumacher are still synonyms.

Upon reading or hearing about Schumacher’s professional achievements, one is convinced that winning has been an obsession for the German. He racked up victories and titles like it was cakewalk for him. He has seven world titles to his name, five of them back to back. In total, the F1 driver has won 91 races.

“Michael Schumacher is the greatest of the adventurers,” Juan Manuel Fangio, pioneering legend of F1, once said. The German has never taken it easy in life. Schumacher took up motorcycling, skydiving, skiing and horse-riding after his first retirement.

A controversy’s child, the German great has regularly been criticised for his arrogance and unpleasant tactics. While he has burnt many bridges by the virtue of these traits, they show that the only goal in Schumacher’s life has been winning.

The winner’s autobiography requires a majestic and ceremonious end. Passing away silently in a hospital bed because he tripped on a rock at the speed of 40 km per hour just doesn’t seem like it. It’s not closure for his fans yet.

And then, there is this possibility of the ‘fighter’ springing back to life. To be standing on his feet and telling the world he survived another of his adventurous exploits. I wish it was an alternate ending I could choose for Schumacher — like I chose the endings in ‘Goosebumps’ comic books as a kid.

After all, he once said: “I prefer to be described as a fighter, someone who never backs down.” Doctors need to wake Schumacher up so he has that fighting chance.

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