Ah! For the want of a good game
Being a sports writer isn’t an easy job, specially if the person in question is one of those hypocrites whose mind is always in a conflict with the heart, and the words he writes are usually just an outcome of the enforcement of ‘practical, real life’. When a person watches a sport, any sport, the only thing that drives their passion is the game that they see.
Ironically, there’s nothing left to be shown in Indian sports now, it has been run over by the amalgamation of politics, glamour & entertainment and what not. We are a nation that despite being the second largest population, can’t muster even a paltry 10 odd medals in the Olympics, don’t have a tennis champ (only gifted strugglers), have faded out of hockey and cut a sorry figure everywhere else. This decadent state is most symbolized by the religion of millions, Cricket.
What can one write about when Sachin Tendulkar has been scoring in a godly manner from decades with the rest of the team giving ‘champions’ who haven’t won a World Cup after their maiden triumph, when they were minnows. A tournament is more anticipated for the controversies it’ll carry, which actresses/models would be there and with whom, what dressing-room leaks will come out. Will we have a CBI inquiry into the funding of the event, or will some ego clash serve as headlines for the forthcoming week, if not that, then there are numerous breaking stories throughout the day which have a shelf life of 2 hours to a day. Where is the GAME?
We have been average in our highs and lows, promising to win the world from time to time, but surely, anyone who has seen and read about Indian cricket will see my point when I say that ours is a cycle of mostly average cricket, with occasional good spells, iced with stellar performances by individuals, hardly ever a team.
We hear Dhoni complain about the overworked cricket calendar and witness a zillion injuries to the best athletes every year. This should mean that we’d have a decent memory of some good wins every annum. However, it is not so, despite the growing number of matches, the game of cricket is fading away from the 22 yard strip and the pastures around it.
Don’t you want to just sit back with anticipation to see a cricket match that you’d remember just for the good cricket it gave? The sublime shots are fading away, even the sloggers don’t have that thump. Bowlers? It has been years since a couple of back to back victories came riding off the leather thrower’s prowess. We don’t have any bowler to write about. Coming to the fielding front, youngsters or no youngsters, we will always be an ‘improving’ outfit that gives away many games due to this traditional weakness. What a decade to pick up writing on sports as a profession!
We get one series win or one good performance out of three we play and such an optimistic race we are, we’ll revive our belief in maybe winning one day, only to be cheated time and again. A colourful colleague of mine refrains from reading the papers the morning after a loss for the added depression it’ll cause him, but still crosses his heart and proclaims that India will win the World Cup (he has been doing it since he was a child) every time he’s asked on our chances, despite knowing the true picture. What do I tell the millions like him?
The market mantra is simple, write what sells, what sells is thrill, thrill isn’t in the game, thrill is in all in the things around it…. Help me o reader, suggest ways to write about the thrill of the game than the peripheral controversies when our stellar performers are not winning big events and things are going from bad to worse. Help me find the game I fell in love with.