(Excerpts from ‘Sporting Chance’ in ‘Everyone hates the English’)
All sports are really silly juvenile play in a sense. Partakers and spectators alike, love competitive sports because of its semblance of a life of manageable fun and the larger human drama it samples. It is a sequence of testing controlled effort against visible resistance in established circumstances. The thrilling mysteries in the unending sequence of match ups and the unpredictability of the results of all games, adds to the fun. The fun in sports is not suppose to make sense, all kinds of play shouldn’t. Play is fun because it is illogical and only saddists empathize with the naïve old Indian village Chief who thought he had solved a perennial football problem by comically recommending that the twenty two players on the pitch are given a soccer ball each to end their pointless running around like a herd of mad cows.
The purposeful running around is what Vijay loves the most in football. Vijay is crazy about football, considering it the king of sports with the best all round athletes in every regard. He agrees football is indeed a gentleman’s sport, played by hooligans because it teaches manners and tests character. Rugby truly likens the hooligan’s sport, played by gentlemen because it alters character and in its very physical fashion, it emphasizes brute force ahead of skills and intelligence. Golf is a long walk on the grass, cattle do that. Polo is the kings’ sport and only the horses are really skillful. Horse racing is for servants of kings, with the royals ever present to observe their subjects and domain. It is unfair to call horse racing a sport, unfair to plowing bulls and the slaving peasants whipping their beasts into line, without their fellow impoverished brethren betting and cheering in the trees.
Then there is the similarity of the common footballer to everyone else in the world that wishes to excel in life. Footballers are typical average athletes, they are amongst the world’s most selfish people and their work is just doing yet another of the world’s selfish hypocritical jobs. They are talented and a bio-engineered reality that manifests as a combination of highly skillful performers and acting stunt men. Footballers have to make out they care about the billions of passionate fans who actually do care about them, their physical, emotional and healthy state. At the pinnacle of their careers, footballers are incredibly well paid to do what they would ordinarily do for virtually nothing in return. If they don’t get a penny for doing their jobs, they will still get the same jobs as unpaid players, until they can’t do so.
Like millions of their less fortunate colleagues who don’t get opportunities and fall on the wayside, all footballers still don’t aspire for anything other than a paid job. Vijay always knew he wouldn’t do anything else but play football and when he discovers he finds little fun in playing football then he will get out of it. But the truth is, he wouldn’t truly enjoy doing it if he is not being paid to do it. The thrill of the game is sublime yet as addictive as the gospel to a Jesuit. The referees can go to hell with their calls and the spectators can chew their nails to the quick with tension, but the world of the footballer is his alone, nothing else exists. Families must wait, friends must worship for notice and religion is best handle like underpants, you might have one on or not, it doesn’t matter. Life is the game first.
SPORTS FOR PLAYERS
The Coach isn’t selfless but human too,
He is the person with a plan for everyone.
With abilities as experience all learnt anew;
He is an optimist, patient as sure as the sun.
The Player obeys the norms and urge,
Enjoying the dreamt up living, yet real.
Dancing to all songs with a new surge,
Blinding days are lit with a light to feel.
The Sport is heartless and demanding,
All companies it keeps are envious of it.
Consuming lust filled, never satisfying;
On its sure ride it will keep every bit.
The Game is simple and easy to chase,
Embraced in choices to choose and make.
Stages of gains at every level of the race
Made the whole thing Sports for players’.
The Poet in the Poem