Sunday, August 21, 2005

Games People Play to Lose

Summary: Indian hockey is in a mess. Cricket team sucks. Neelam J Singh caught doping. Anju Bobby George finishes fifth. Rathore Saab hasn't won anything after the Olympics. But for Vishy Anand and Sania Mirza that I continue to read the sports pages.

Sometime last week, while flipping through the channels I caught one-medal-wonder Major Rajvardhan Singh Rathore talking eloquently about mental strength and playing for pride. While the first one needs no words to explain, the third one has surely assumed a new meaning. Playing for pride now means just playing enough to remain in the pride.
Indian hockey is in such a mess that people like me now read the papers to know by how much margin we lost. To K P H Gill’s credit, the national hockey players are not even fit to play Gilly Danda. I think now if somebody wants to make a game unpopular, the easy way is to make KPS Gill the president of that association. Like terrorism in Punjab, he will ensure that the game dies an unnatural death.
Talking about cricket, I feel sorry about Edward de Bono. His much-eulogized hat theory had the misfortune of being a part of the mental training crafted for our cricketers. What Bono didn’t know is that our cricketers make the audience wear the topi at the end of every match. For most of the match they keep them glued to their chair showing signs of a possible win but just as the game nears conclusion, they somehow manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. While that needs some careful planning, Indians, it seems, have now mastered the art of losing games which they could have easily won. They can surely make a “match” of it even against teams like Bangladesh and Kenya. And in between, if one of our batsmen hits a rare hundred, he just screams obscene gaalis at the top of his voice. Australians sledge to win, our cricketers sledge just to prove a non-existent point.
While our cricket team is a much-fancied one, there are sportspersons who manage to create news even when they are not the favourites to win an event. Take the case of discuss thrower Neelam J Singh. She couldn’t even win a medal after taking a banned substance. At least if she would have won a medal, we could have claimed that the dope charge is a conspiracy against our athlete. She lost the medal and made sure we didn’t even win at least the “fair play” trophy. I think now the time has come to remake the popular movie Bond movie From Russia With Love. Bond needs to investigate this case since most our athletes who train in countries like Ukraine, which were part erstwhile Russia, come back both doped and duped.
And while this hara-kiri was happening, our long jumper Anju Bobby George also lost at the World Championships. Thank God we still have people like Vishwanathan Anand and Sania Mirza, otherwise in our country it is so easy to forget the taste of victory.

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