“Take a defeat like how you take a victory – sports teach you that important quality”
He never prays to God, except before important matches. All his atheism is forgotten during the mornings of the important matches as he just cannot leave anything that might even remotely help his team to win. He always felt that his feelings and prayers were important for his team to win. He was also sentimental – If he sat in a particular chair and his team wins, he sits on the same chair till they lose some match. Then he tries a different strategy. He has sometimes even consulted the road side astrologer with an all knowing parrot, to take a favourable card indicating victory for his team – if the parrot takes a different card, he again tries the next day, till the right card is taken! He cannot stop watching a match even before the day of an important examination, if his team is playing.
During the match, he becomes even more tensed. He has even consulted probability theorems taught during his maths class to judge how many times there is a probability of getting heads or tails according to the conditions of the ground and the force with which the umpire throws the coin. He knows, more than the captain, how important it is to win the toss! He fumes with anger sometimes when his team decides to field first, as according to him they should have batted first. He gives countless reasons for that to anyone who cares to ask him why. All his reasons were technically sound and backed with statistics and his favourite instinct. After all, he leaves nothing to chance and he follows every inch of the game.
Normally a quiet personality, he doesn’t realize that during the matches, he shouts enough for the whole apartment block to hear his expert commentary and his jubilation! It’s a riot when his favourite left-handed batsman hits boundaries continuously and he jumps when a sixer is hit – he loses himself in such moments and doesn’t realize how his emotions are being expressed just inches away from the TV. After all, why should he be so important to himself, when his all-important team is playing!
He is inconsolable after a loss! He has even broken a few glass tumblers after a defeat! He then resigns to his room, suffers alone and is grim-faced for the next couple of days. People have taken that opportunity to tease him, as he is unable to tease them back during those days, unlike normal days. It takes a couple of days for him to do even the post match analysis as he is overtaken by too much grief till then. He has even written a couple of poems during those times, in an attempt to make his heart lighter! He slowly recovers and then gets back to the business of analysing his team.
It was said that cricket was a religion in his country, and he could easily associate himself to that statement. He was sure that there were many more people like him at every corner of the nation. Cricket was every thing to him – happiness, grief, elation, misery, mystery, passion, success, failure and in short – Life.
Till one day when the headlines in the News channels ran, “Match Fixing scandal unearthed. Players fix matches beforehand for money”
He just couldn’t understand the concept. Why would the players agree to fixing? For money? They must already be earning so much through the ads and commercial endorsements… Why would they have to do something like this to earn? There were a billion people who were supporting them, no matter what and this is what their team gives them in return? How can other people take it so lightly? Why was he affected so much? A million questions ran in his mind and he was never himself after that.
“Hey, there is an important match today and you are here reading novels? What’s going on with you? Aren’t you coming down to watch it?” his friends asked him. He replied, “Actually exams are coming within a month, and I will read the novel only for an hour or so, after that I have to prepare for the exams da. You guys watch the match and tell me the result, ok?” His friends were stunned, but he was happy reading the novel. At least in the novel, they mentioned that it was fiction at the beginning itself!”
What the sport couldn’t teach him, the match fixing episode single handedly did. As they say, it’s all a part of the game called Life….
You could visit the ‘Short Stories(Fiction)’ section of this blog to read more such stories.