The city literally gears up for the cricket event. There is no other talk. It is indeed amusing to keep hearing heated analysis of the game, the scores, or intense discussions about Dhoni and Gayle like we were all born in the same hospital, personal statistics, the winning shots hit last time, examination of the shots from every angle, how the ball swung, the momentum, the velocity, the acceleration and so on and so forth!
Four weeks back we saw the budget being dissected from every possible angle, discussed by a panel of who’s who in every possible channel. Now the same is about to happen with regard the game. Even the advertisers have tried their hands at innovating using the colours of the team as holi colours. In a country like ours where cricket is a religion, I know so many superstitious people who wouldn’t get up and go to the bathroom during a match for fear that their favourite batsman may get out if they do! It changes the normal functioning. It is to be expected in a cricket crazy country like ours, where the national game is Hockey but we sing paeans to our cricketers!
I have nothing against the game! I love a good spirited game. What I do feel confounded about is the way children go all out to be like our cricketers and take the game so ridiculously seriously!
My son cracked a pelvis as he tried to ‘dive’ and ‘save’ the ball from going for an extra run! A friend of his did not happen to notice the gate as he tried a superman act to catch a ball. Ten stitches later nobody including that child knows how it happened. He walked around with a huge bandanna like bandage! Reminded me of a sore bear with a headache! My next door kid tried a so-called ‘helicopter’ shot and ended up shattering a car window! The owner of the car, when he came running out to inspect the damage to his car, confront the culprits and catch them by the collar found only three lone stumps! Everybody else had abandoned the stumps and escaped!
Of course every other house window has faced the infamous, errant ball and has numerous tales to tell! Another kid broke his bat in anger when he was declared out vociferously by his friends! Yet another one stomped all the way home, carrying the dregs of the game with him, all because he got out ‘unfairly’ he said. He refused his dinner and cried himself to sleep!
While all these are slightly extreme forms, I must plead; does the game warrant such behaviour? Imitation is a great form of flattery they say but I am sure even our captain Dhoni wouldn’t want children imitating his shots without taking appropriate training or even precaution. Cricket is a sport, and I don’t happen to think our life hinges on it. But our injuries do. One ought not to misinterpret focus and the discipline that goes into inculcating skill in a sport. One shot cannot transform one into Dhoni or Sachin or Kohli. Our national players have spent impossible hours training to be where they are. We can watch, appreciate and possibly ape to an extent. But let it not become an obsession that we lose our grip over reality.
Play the game, but leave it behind when you get home. Play the game but let’s not go overboard! Play the game, but be a sport! Play a cool game! It high time we teach our kids, it’s just a game! Let’s not ‘break our collective heads’ over it!