Cricket, government & ‘other’ sports

The grand Olympics 2012 have come to an end & Indian contingent returns home with a Sixer. On a relative scale, there has been a definite paradigm shift, not only in our performance at Olympics but also in the mindset & perceptions of all of us for these ‘ other’ sports. Let us see how & why this change actually happened.

Overdose: Blessing in disguise

Many people attribute the low popularity of other games to the craziness towards cricket. Ironically, the same game through some self destruction has helped people take more notice of other games. BCCI guys has definitely not learnt the Economics Law of Marginal Utility: Too much of anything causes more harm than good. For how long will India keep on playing nonsensical bi-series matches with our cash strapped neighbors ? What is the purpose of having a packed schedule of matches hoping that stands will continue to remain packed with spectators? Continuous matches one after the other have caused even die-hard cricket fans to move away from the game & take notice of other sports. More people watched our boxers, wrestlers battle it out rather than getting glued to the ongoing India-SL series. 10 years back this would not have been the case. On the penultimate day of the Olympics, social media sites got flooded with tweets & posts the moment one of our wrestlers won the bronze. This is definitely a welcome change in our perceptions.

Stopped blaming cricket & government

I have read about many players complaining that cricket has killed their sport & even the government is doing preciously little towards the development of their sport. Infact the government is fond of creating hurdle races by persisting with dark age rules related to visa for foreign trainers, sports infrastructure development, etc Well, the situation may not change much in the near future but the players & ex-players realised that they have to live with the system instead of hoping for it to change. Accordingly a few former players came together to form a non-profit organisations to help Indian sportsmen. They did the smart thing: Let the sports persons do what they are best at–Play their game & they took care of everything else: Tackling the never ending obstacle races created by Government formalities, on behalf of the sportsmen. Although still in their preliminary stages, positive results have started to show as a result of their efforts.

Colour matters

For a country perennially starved of medals, a bronze medal winner apologizing to the country for not winning a gold or silver is a real shot in the arm for us. The statements in the media did include ones like ” One step away from final”, ” One step away from gold” & not just ” Assured of silver” or ” Assured of a medal” Finally India may have started to believe that we can be the best and actually aim at gold and not just a medal in all the games we participate.

What Next ???

We Indians seem to get complacent more often than not. This performance is just the first positive step towards building a sports culture. We are still way off the radar when it comes to comparing our absolute performance with that of other countries, some much smaller than us. Government has to play a much bigger role apart from just awarding the winners & offering positions to them. They have to invest in the process of development of a solid sports culture right from school level. We ourselves need to encourage such sportsmen in whatever small way we can to hope that India gets recognized in sport events apart from just the gentleman’s game.

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