I have always followed Sports seriously. Even, when I was a kid I would sit with my grandfather, who was the biggest sports fan I ever knew and watch everything on DD Sports for hours altogether. Back in the day DD Sports was like my favorite channel. Even now, I have the habit of checking the sports section in the newspapers first. Earl Warren said “I would like to read about People’s accomplishments rather than their failures”. It is not all about winners all the time. The images of Lance Klusener chewing gum calmly after the loss against Australia in the 99’ Cricket World cup Semifinal, of Robert Baggio looking crestfallen after missing a penalty in the 94’ Soccer World cup , of Roger Federer in tears after losing to Rafael Nadal in a epic Wimbledon final are still fresh in my mind. They (South African team, Italian Team and Roger) did lose all right, but the line between the winner and runner up was so close that they did not seem a loser to me. Sports can shower you with glory on defeat as well.
Australia was host to two of my favorite Sporting events in the last week. The India Australia Cricket Test series and the Australian Open Tennis Championship. I was watching the Men’s Championship final game between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Though, The quality of tennis on display was not the of highest standard, the sheer will of each player to hold on until the very end was. For almost 6 hours, the world watched as the two of them held court. There were so many moments during the game when both players appeared completely exhausted and ready to back down. Yet they held on and treated the audience to a fine lesson on determination and will power. Though Nadal lost today he received a standing ovation from the crowd as he left saying “I would be here next year to fight again.”. A hero in Defeat.
In stark contrast was the final match of the India Australia Test series. Though the event was touted to be as the farewell series for the batting greats of India, it proved to be a nightmare. The Indian team chased leather for most of the time, and conducted processions while batting. Agreed, Teams do not win all the time. But if they keep getting Beaten every time then something has to be wrong. It is sad to see that the the media mouthpiece of the team is living in denial and talking about victories of the past. Michael Clarke and his men should be enjoying their beers and mouthing “Evalo adichalum thangaranga” behind the Indians back! While the angry young men of Indian cricket bad mouth the opposition team, crowds and the grounds, and speak of past victories they should realize that their arguments will neither make them win any sympathy from the fans nor make them look like heroes in defeat. The team needs to pick up their act soon, or the team would be addressed with the words “Losers”.
In the movie “Up in the Air”, the lead Protagonist says Kids adore Sportsmen because they follow their dreams. The admiration comes from the fact that they learn a lot of values as well. I had the pleasure to see and learn from some of the greatest players during my time, but I do hope that nobody picks up some of the qualities that are on display by the current Indian cricket team.