Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before We Forget The Sportspersons….!

For the past few months, every day I have woken up with renewed hope and prayers of finding something positive as far as the CWG 2010 to be held in Delhi goes. However all hope vanished every time I switched on the TV or turned over a page of the newspapers. The only thing on offer was news about slippages on schedule, doubts over the quality delivered, scams and funds embezzled.

The dark clouds just didn’t end there! To all these feeds there was an army of Evergreen Gory Cynics, Ever Doubtful Air-Conditioned Elitists of India, who always have complains but no solution to offer for the myriad problems that exists in our country. These people were laughing all the way to their inflated egos, all gleaming full beams to demonstrate that their prophecy of the failure of these games is surely about to come true. Sadly though, amidst all this we all have very easily forgotten these games were never meant to be about the KALMADIs, the BHANOTs, the GILLs, the REDDYs and the DIXITs. I remember having to face one such attitude recently, when during a conversation with a very high positioned MNC Indian executive absolutely out of the context, in a very shameless way, let me know the fact that he wanted the games to be a disaster, just because he was convinced that We Indians are like that and deserve no better. I thought of reminding him that these games are not meant to be showcasing our Corruption powers and showcasing what we cannot do, rather of what we and our sportspersons can do! However, probably somehow my own cowardice stopped me from putting a mirror in front of that esteemed person. I hoped he might very well get his answers soon.

As I am writing this, there was another recent addition to this list. Mr S Pawar (Food Agri Minister…oops sorry! I mean IPLBCCIICC Minister) has declared the CWG as a joke. This is a perfect case of ‘the Pot calling the Kettle black’!. Please remind him that first he makes sure that he himself does not become a joke of what he is doing in his own work in Delhi. Does he fit in to give lectures to others on what to do? He may well be taking pot shots at his political rival in Kalmadi, but what is the use of doing so by degrading the whole event of CWG.

To add to these are the ‘Only CRICKET is Sports’SportsLovers of India, strangely for whom being ranked 2nd amongst 10 nations and still losing is better than having some sports persons probably ranked in Top 20s amongst many thousands and winning.

For God’s sake we should not forget that any sports events, the very least being a multi-disciplinary sports event like the Olympics, Asiad or the CWG is first and foremost meant to celebrate the sports and the sportspersons. Then if at all somebody else deserves the attention, it should be the army of the entire workforce, the volunteers without whose un-surmountable efforts such an organization could never be possible in any part of the world.

Only this Sunday I was jumping with joy after the heroics of the Indian Davis Cup team. That was an awesome effort to beat the much fancied team of Brazil to re-enter the Elite Top-16 World Group. This capped a great week of Success in Indian Sports –Team Recurve Gold and Individual Recurve Silver at the World Archery Championship, Sushil Kumar becoming the first Indian as the World Wrestling Champion and Magnificent Mary(Kom) winning her 5th consecutive World Boxing Gold. I thought that probably now the tide would turn positive and we would all start focusing on our Sportspersons and encouraging them in the run up to the games. But it was not to be! We all, including the distinguished lists of the KALMADIs, the BHANOTs, the GILLs, the REDDYs, the DIXITs, the PAWARs, and the Elites of this country, wants to devour the games as a perfect opportunity to settle our own scores or cheap vested interests.

Excuse me if I am sounding like defending the untenable! I am certainly not intending to do so. But before I make my point, I am reminded of an incident during one of my board exams. I made a silly blunder in one of my Subject Papers, where I was expecting myself to do very well. My Parents, though very upset with my inefficiency, made me realize that there was still a job to be done as my other papers were still scheduled. They asked me to get on with the job at hand and do the best in them. Further they reminded me that the main objective of any exam is to learn and test the lessons we have learnt. In that regard I can still be successful if I make sure to take all the lessons from my blunder in the exams. I was re-energized by this trust and backing I got and did my best in the rest of the papers. However I was not to be let off. I got my due rap on the knuckles after all the papers were over.

Another thing that comes to my mind is how often we have seen in our families that we might have great differences in opinion and objectives when a marriage is fixed. But once a decision is made every one in the family gets behind the decision and put in their best efforts to make all arrangements as success. They all put up a single face until the last of the guests have returned. I honestly feel there are many lessons for each one of us in the above two incidents, most notably so for the distinguished list referred earlier.

My main point amongst all my arguments is very simple – just only yesterday the PM reminded his own ministers “We owe the games to our Citizens”. More precisely I would like to request you all – “WE OWE THESE GAMES TO OUR SPORTSPERSONS!” Anyways in our country, they rarely get from us the limelight they deserve. And now when they had an opportunity, all the focus is being shamelessly taken away by the Corrupt, Inefficient, and Incompetent OVERHEADS of the sports system of our country. I so preciously hope that come the 14th October 2010 and even beyond at the end of the Asian Games 2010 in China, these very sportspersons give all of us many reasons of smiles and joy with their scintillating performances on the field. How unfair it is though to even expect the sports fraternity to wipe off all the humiliation, gloom, negativity, cynicism and the doubts that have descended upon the nation because of the above distinguished list. But I am sure that these are the only people, who in the situation we are in can bring a positive turn-around.

So get up and book your tickets to see the sports live and cheer our sports heroes when the Games begin! I am saving my voice for the day when at the stadium I would blowing away my throat to support Team India.

Now kindly let me make another very important point. I once read somewhere that the job of the Media / Press is to present the facts as it is. However, in today’s age, whether it is the truth is a matter of intense debate. It is quite obvious that the Media has long transgressed this boundary and has also started interpreting and compartmentalizing the facts. While sometimes it is largely beneficial, sometimes it is just over the top, sometimes underplayed and many times detrimental. The reason I am making this premise is the fact that while the Media has done a good job in exposing the fallacies, the loopholes and the corruption involved with the CWG.

What it has not realized though in the process is that it is just trying to play it far too much. Also, what is has not done at all is presenting a balanced picture by highlighting the positives that has taken place in regards to the CWG. I must say it would be wasteful to assume that nothing good or positive has happened in and for the games. I have been in Delhi for the last few years and more so in the last few months, and I have found a lot of changes happening in the city that is wonderful and needs all the applause. Some of the Sports Stadiums that have been built are absolutely fantastic and world class. The speed with the latest 3 lines of the Delhi Metro has come up has been simply amazing and unparalleled. This is despite the grave hurdles in 2 of the lines and the accidents not withstanding. The Games website is truly very good too. There has been a big scale effort to make the city of Delhi truly of international class. So when the media is playing out the failures almost 24X7, it would be rather re-assuring to see the positives happening around as well. I don’t find that happening that often.

Yes, it seems the intent of the Media (the 4th Pillar of a functioning Democracy) is to bring the rot out and start a change in the way Sports is run in the country and Sportspersons are treated. However, the real trial-by-fire of this intent is not now, but would be when the CWG is finally over and the Inefficient, and Incompetent OVERHEADS of the sports system of our country start thinking that they can go for a big well deserved sleep. It is exactly then, come the 16th October 2010, that the trial would actually begin. The Media should make sure that they amass all the scoops, facts, investigations and stings till then and come out all guns blazing to expose every single rotten grain corrupting the entire sports system of the country. The campaign then should be so intense, all encompassing and compelling so that the need for this change is not just felt, but thought and enacted by all and sundry.

I request to our brethren in the Media world and the powers that be, to hold their guns till then and let us all celebrate these CWG only for the sake of Sportspersons.

Let us all not forget our sporting heroes and prodigies, at the time when they need our support the most!

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