The Agony Of Being A Sports Fanatic In India!

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(This piece was written during the Athens Olympics. But the situation doesn’t seem to have changed except probably for Narain’s inclusion in the F1 circuit and Sania’s Exploits at the majors.)

Cats have nine lives! And that astonishes you because? Look at me! I just lived through nineteen lives in just about four hours and a couple of minutes. How? Why? Where?

Here’s the deal: I just got off my couch watching “THE INDIAN EXPRESS” fall heroically to the big hearted young Croats. Need I say more?

Boy! Was it heartbreaking? But what I chose to take from the match is Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi’s  never say die attitude and their desperate attempt to bring home that piece of Bronze. Never mind boys, it’s as good as you getting it.  Although you faltered royally in the first set, you did automatically transform into Gladiators in the next two. Hats Off!

…Ours is a no second chance nation, we lack consistency. Yes lack of consistency comes with lack of backing….

As I was watching the match late into the night and in the early hours of the morning, I was looking at my mother sound asleep and thinking, “Blessed are you oh Indian who don’t understand the ‘S’ of sports or the ‘G’ of games cause sleep comes to you naturally and easily”.  Today, just now, I would give anything to trade my place with the SPORTSILY CHALLENGED (that’s a word I devised to fit). But that sadly, is not to be.  I am a die-hard sports enthusiast and I am a die-hard Indian and I am overtly, over ambitious.   (Well, I was expecting nothing less than a GOLD from Shikha Tandon, how else would you have categorized me?) With that also comes the pain, the agony and the heartache. Let me explain:

Point one: What is so frustrating about being a sports enthusiast in India is that: one never knows, full stop.  If there is such a term in sports as “peaking at the right time” then believe you me, that’s a term alien to Indian sports. Why else would Anjali Ved Pathak perform so dismally? Why else would Abhinav Bhindra chicken out so easily? Why else would Suresh Kalmadi not get another chance at occupying a chunk of the time slot on the Indian telly yapping away? Oops! Am I running off the track?  Pardon me.

Point two: We get in with so much expectations and then we come out disappointed. But hey that is not the problem, not the problem at all. The problem is:  at this edition we were expecting the world from Lee & Hesh, Bina Mol, Binu, Shobha, Aparna Popat, Nikhil, Abhin, the list is just endless. But whom will we look to in the next edition? Clearly Lee & Hesh are in their last leg. Seriously they don’t have another Olympics in them, even if there is then they might get a sneak peak at Beijing in 2008 but after that?? If there was a worthy successor it should have shown now. Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj might be the names, but are they backed by results?  O.K., sometimes, out of the blue there shines a star brightly on the horizon somewhere in between the two Olympics, like Anju Bobby George, but that as we all know is as rare an occurrence as Halley’s comet itself.  Lets face it, we have neither bench strength nor “new arrivals” as they say.  Oh! I’d love to be proved wrong, but will I be?  

Point three: for every Shiv Kapoor there is a Sunitha Rani, for every  R. S. Rathore there is a Prathima. I agree that these girls are not to be blamed. But do you think everybody follows the follow-up? The sensation is created when one is accused, the acquittal (if there is one) does not come with the same intensity.

Point Four: Everytime Indian cricket team is playing, everytime Anju is taking the leap, everytime Abhinav is aiming, everytime Narain or Karun are speeding and everytime Lee & Hesh are serving (literally), we wear our hearts on our sleeves not only because we want them to win at that particular moment but deep within our hearts we know that we might not have a second chance to glory.  Ours is a no second chance nation, we lack consistency. Yes lack of consistency comes with lack of backing. But hey! Don’t be surprised, this is India.

Point Five and most important: So far we have only one medal on board because? OH! Yes the contingent went without their star athletes. I refuse to understand the reason why Ashiwarya, Vivek, Aamir, Rani and Bipasha are missing from the Indian contingent at Athens.  Wait a min? Am I getting it all backwards?  But these guys ran with the prestigious Olympic flame that came to India after ages.  O.K., Can it get any more frustrating?

If you ask these people what is Payyoli Express?”, I can bet my bottom dollar, barring Aamir, all the other idiots will say “Hmmmm, Payyoli Express, sounds like the name of a train, oh yeah, it’s a train that runs from Delhi to Lucknow”, verbatim; they won’t even get the state right.

Now any young thing wanting to excel in a particular sport will have a hero obviously, whom he/she would want to emulate. If he/she is shown that one will be treated like dirt even after serving the nation as beautifully as P. T. Usha or Shiny Wilson did, then everyone will opt to be a film star or a model rather than a sports person. We need to think and we need to act and pronto.  We need to bring down glamour mongers like Suresh Kalmadi and put a worthy person up there.  I am so sorry that the likes of P. T. Usha and Shiny Abraham Wilson were born here in India. They would have been nurtured and revered in any other country, yes ANY OTHER COUNTRY.  I know that’s not going to be the case with Anju, cause she is clever, she is playing her PR card well. Good for you Anju that’s the way to go. I am writing this ahead of  Anju’s debut at the mother of all sports and hope that she is going to eclipse all the hurt with that yellow piece of metal.

Save our Country! (if you think there is any hope left there)

Rush mE!

Author: Rashmi Diana- india

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