The twin faces of sport are extremely complex. Sometimes it takes you to great heights and at times, it brings you down to earth with the same force. Thats why Sport is a great leveller!!
Cricket falls in the same category. It takes you to the commanding heights as well as to the amazing lows. In fact, thats the beauty of the game, "the good old game". It is often taken a cruel form when the taste of defeat is always bitter. That has also made the followers of the game take it to their hearts. Then their reactions spiral out of control and dons a fanatical role. Hence, when Sachin or Inzamam fail with their willows-which on any given day would pack a very powerful punch-there are uproars for their blood. In this fanatical following, where the rational minds are thrown out of the window and hearts rule the roost, the biggest casualty are the mortals or to be more precise, the players. Therefore, when the fans who root for their stars to shine brightly by shaving their heads, colouring their faces, placing large bets, and sit for hours before the television sets to catch late night action in the Carribean, go overboard with their reactions, its not the way to follow a sport. To put things in the right perspective, an innovative coach losing his life while being in the process of taking a great but unpredictable team to ultimate glory is certainly not cricket. The amount of stress, both physical and mental, carried on the shoulders of the players and the coaches is something that is highly alarming.
It serves to drive home only one point that the people whom we raise to the pedestal of glory are in a way, only mere mortals, always prone to errors. Sometimes getting to bask in the sunshine, and at times receiving nothing but the sack as well as flak. However, this is not to play down the level of commitment that the players have to put in every game, that is in its each and every aspect. The angst of the fans are also moulded by the role of the media. The inconsistent and irresponsible role of the media in bringing out the right picture is to be blamed. It is the media, that takes the players to greater 'summits'. Thus, the fans are forced to go through a great deal of emotional travails, thereby bringing in both dreams and nightmares with equal force. Thats where sport loses its magic, its charm, its unpredictability.................!!!! It turns morbid, and redundant while pushing the entire game into the background and bringing into the forefront needless and mindless discussions which are not only time consuming, but also not in keeping with the positive spirit of the game.
The World Cup-to decide the champions of cricket-happens once in four years and losing out in the process is a serious issue. However, it is not a case of life and death!! India and Pakistan may have made an early exit, but the game has to go on. Both the teams would need to start afresh with the goal being aimed at the next World Cup. There have been new teams showcasing their skills and they had a better day in the field. The need is to encourage their performances and give credit where it is due. The true winner is only the game, at the end of the day. Cricket's magic has to return and for that to happen, the fans need to be more understandable. As the people in West Indies tell you, "its afterall only a game maan"!! Only if they gave a helpful ear to the now-famous words of a great tennis icon at Wimbledon sometime back: when Boris Becker broke the silence at the press meet in 1985 after losing out to the little known Peter Doohan, "Nobody died, I just lost a tennis match!!" That is why no sensible fan should entertain the thoughts of drastic steps and in fact should direct their reactions/interventions towards issues which concern our daily life, of bread and butter than just a game of cricket.......................... This is the precise reason why yours truly will not jump into the Indian Ocean for the humiliating exit of Team India from its World Cup campaign even very-well knowing that they were the finalists during the last edition............................!!!!
P.S: While writing this, the death of Woolmer is growing murkier with each passing day. Even the can of bookie worms is being re-opened!! This is a script whose climax may never be known!!!!......................