Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Sports"

I have to say that I don’t particularly care about any sports. If all sports/sportsmen were to disappear from the world tomorrow, I’m not sure that I would notice any lack. I used to think I was fond of football, but when you came down to it, my enthusiasm lasted two series – the first being the 1982 World Cup, which I followed with overweening enthusiasm. But that was not so much from love of the game… to be honest, it was because I desperately wanted to imitate and perhaps even impress a favourite senior uncle, who was a mad-keen football fan (as befitted someone who had spent a large part of his life in Calcutta). Another reason was the thrill of staying up really late at night watching the matches with my uncle – my dad disapproved very much of my late hours, but I knew he would say nothing while my uncle, whom he greatly respected, was around. The third - but internalised - reason was that I wanted to be treated like my boy cousins and not expected to be "girly" (fat chance of that, but I was young and hopeful then!)

The second was the 1986 world cup – and boy, was I in love with every player or what! I knew the names of most of the players from the top teams, and could put face to name for the majority of them, too. Germany, Argentina, England, Italy, Brazil… I couldn’t make up my mind about which of the top players from those teams I admired the most. I cant begin to tell you how torn I was between feeling total sadness for Gary Lineker and total joy for Diego Maradona when Argentina beat England in the finals. And how I regretted having switched loyalties to Maradona when his “Hand of God” confession came out. Poor ol’ Gary!

For a few years I thought I was interested in cricket, but it was more about the individual cricketers than the game itself. This realisation took a longer time coming, because of the general cricket madness exhibited by everybody around me – friends and family inclusive. There were people who could quote cricket statistics for every cricketer from any cricketing country, going back for years for every match, and what was more, they appeared to think that this was interesting to everybody… a delusion I never really understood.

Anyway, once my teenage hormones had calmed down a bit, I suddenly realised that I didn’t care for Gavaskar or Azharuddin or Imran Khan or Jonty Rhodes or Sir Viv Richards or anybody else really. Also that test cricket was unutterably boring and one-day internationals were interesting only because they lasted a day. Basically, I didn’t care what happened in cricket unless India was winning, preferably beating Pakistan and South Africa to a pulp. But even that marginal interest dwindled down to nothing once the betting and bribe-taking scandals came to light, forever confirming that the cricketers were just greedy grasping bastards who cared nothing for the game, their fans, their own reputation or that of their country.

It’s not just cricket. It’s any sport. I don’t understand how playground games can be elevated to such heights and its players idolized and adored and paid insane amounts…and mostly to let down their team, their fans and their country just when it matters the most.

I don’t understand sports. I don’t care to, either. There are better things on which to spend time and money, especially if you’re not actually playing the sport yourself. Feel free to disagree.


Pollux aka Paps said...

Man, I couldn't have put it better myself. When do you leave for INdia and when are you back?

Kamini said...

Sigh. I have no choice - I have a sports-mad son, and 90% of his conversation is about sports. The things one does for love!!

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Yes, I would actually rather play a sport than watch it. Er, not that I really get down to playing any sport though...;)

just another mommy said...


Anil P said...

After a point things change, and one wonders why it did. I feel the same sometimes.

ra said...

I agree totally! I went through this cricket phase too, thenr ealsied I found it totally boring as well.