The Dying Spirit of Sportsmanship
We, Indians, love cricket. We eat, drink and sleep cricket. We even go to the extent of worshipping some of our cricketers. All this is good as long as it is harmless. But, the reported fight between some of our cricketers and their fans in a pub is very disturbing.
Since the time India has been ousted from the T20 World Cup, media is abuzz with debates about why we lost? Some, which include Dhoni, say it was because of fatigue from the IPL matches, while others attribute it to excessive partying and lack of practice. Whatever be the reason, one thing is very worrying. We all seem to have lost the spirit of sportsmanship.
Cricket has now become so commercialised with the advent of events like IPL or product endorsements by cricketers, or allegations of match-fixing that it seems, we have lost the real essence of cricket. Cricket is a sport. It is a game and in a game there will always be a winner and a loser.
It shall be unfair to expect a team to ‘always’ win. It is natural for fans to get disappointed but, a real fan is one who has faith in the abilities of his sportsman. We should realise that cricketers are also human beings. If they choose to party after a hard day’s work, then it may be their personal way of unwinding. Which rule states that if one faces some setback then one should not party? Did the cricketers commit a crime if they decided to go to a pub after being ousted from the T20 World Cup? May be it was their way of getting over their failure. Would it have made more PR sense for them if they came in front of the media with sad faces, pretended that they were too ashamed for what they did, lamented their fate, said that all is over and they did not deserve a second chance? Would that have satisfied the fans? No, this would have been wrong! The cricketers would also be sad at their failure but, that is not the end of the road. We should try to empathise with them. Every individual has a different way of dealing with failures. Some cut off themselves from everybody, while others let their hair down.
Yes, the cricketers are accountable to the country as a whole. Yes, they need to follow a disciplined life. Yes, they need to practice enough. Yes, they need to give their 100 percent to the sport. But, this is for their coach or the BCCI to see. Just because some cricketers went to a pub for a couple of hours does not mean they are frivolous. Moreover, it would be unrealistic to think that the cricketers themselves are not worried about their performance. In fact, they should and would be more worried than the fans. They have their entire career at stake. They know that if they do not deliver, they would be replaced not only on the cricket field but, also in the ad world.
Let us have some faith in our sportsmen. Let us refrain from extreme reactions. Let us not make them God when they win and abuse them when they lose. Cricket is a sport and a good sport demands good sportsmanship. Let us not be bad losers!