Thursday, December 27, 2012


Why do we cheer for complete strangers during a tennis/cricket/football match? Because we want our individual/country/team to win. Or maybe somewhere in our head, we think that cheering them will absolve us from the actual duty of performing in a match. We aren't good (read: fit) enough to participate anyway. Or maybe I'm mistaken as usual. It's perfectly normal to want others to accomplish what we possibly couldn't. At least that's the case with Indian parents. Intriguingly, there's a sense of achievement in others' success when it comes to sports. However, our species is not known for exhibiting such behavior as far as non-sports activities are concerned. Although we envy our neighbours we make sure we respect the brilliance of a guy wearing an opponent's jersey. That's how a sport rolls! Simply put, it allows us that exclusive space to be noisy, euphoric, sad, abusive, contemplative, opinionated, wasted, speculative and alive. Simultaneously. Plus, there are moments to take note of. For instance, when Federer lifts a grand slam title, you experience unchecked happiness although you won't extract even a cent of that million dollar cheque he just received. It's OK as you want the super-rich Swiss to bag five more such huge titles. On the downside, you empathize with Sachin when he goes limp in his final days and 'abruptly' declares retirement from ODIs. You acknowledge the burden those shoulders must have carried for more than two decades. The reason why you do so is you know that nobody can replace him. You'll neither watch a match for the sake of one cricketer nor switch off the TV when he gets out. In simple words, you'll never ever love a batsman more. On the other hand, when Messi scores 91 goals in one year, you are elated. To you, the Argentine defines the struggle of an athlete who had everything going against him—even his growth hormones. But you also notice that his triumph marks the victory of human endurance and hard-earned skills, coupled with uncanny humility. You want him to helm that World Cup in Brazil so that his detractors can shut up in peace. That's the fan in you talking to you. Like you have yours, every sportsperson has a melodramatic story to boot too. But very few amongst them make you feel their joy and pain. And that's precisely why they are your heroes. 

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