I live in a country intoxicated by religion. Cricket is one of them. I have nothing to do with it really. But both our games involve running on a field. Both demand dedication and discipline and focus. Both require us to speed. We do it over a set distance. They do it between the wickets, right before releasing the ball or when they go after it. For some reason however, mine is less glamorous. It’s less exciting. It’s less important. Or so I’m made to feel.
I practice at a local track. It’s a government-run facility that’s not very well endowed. But we make do with the equipment available. I’m not getting at the lack of infrastructure though. I could write a thesis on that. And I wonder how many government officials would read it.
Here’s what I’m getting at:
A few days ago we were notified that we won’t have access to the track for a week.
Reason: Our country hosts a cricket league annually. Oh it’s an extravaganza! Every match is a movie. And there’s no match for it! Now, because the cricket stadium happens to be on the other side of our wall, the opening ceremony for this caricature of cricket shall take place on our track and field.
Preparations are in full swing. The stage is set. Artistes from all over will perform at the event, to bring in and bring on the cricketainment. It’ll be one flamboyant party. On our track! And whether you believe it or not, it’s sacred. To us. It’s our temple. But let’s leave aside the intoxications…
Some of us have crucial try-outs and athletic meets in the weeks ahead. If we’re ousted from our workplace and out of training for a week, how’re we supposed to perform?
Go to another track you’d suggest? And I will. But I’m not the only one training here. Not all of us can afford membership at a privately run service (which by the way, isn’t very superior either!). But, hey, why should we? This is our abode!
Then again, we’re missing out on one tiny detail. A match isn’t even going to be played here. We’re basically moving out to make space for a party.
So, clearly, we’re not the priority. Heck! We aren’t even in the picture.
Cricket. At its whims, we’re tossed and shoved and shunted out.
Cricket. I don’t have to hate it to love my Sport. No one does. What I do hate is the shadow it casts on every athlete that’s not a cricketer; every sport that’s not cricket. And while it dominates, it truly, truly disappoints. Like one of those ungracious people who can’t watch anyone else grow. What do they call them? Ah! Yes! Poor ‘Sport’s.
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