Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of head butts & other demons

Column: Back Talk Author: Murali Gopy Publication: Sports Today: Isuue: August/2006

The fever has abated. The world is recovering from the head butt. And it does not seem to complain on less-glamorous-and-more-real head butts, either. Look at what they are doing in West Asia. In a way, the world still reacts to elementary bottlenecks with abuses and head butts. More often, with techniques bloodier than these.

And it is amusing to realize how sports precedes, imitates and reflects life—abuse in desperation, head butt in return!

Cynics are crying foul over Italian ways for what, they believe, is happening behind the lines. Match-fixing scandals and Italian football, it seems, are Siamese realities, whose fortunes share the same food pipe. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what I God’s”, it was said. But the punters are obviously demanding more than what is expected to be rendered unto them. And soccer is paying the price. It has come to pass (sorry for the ecclesiastical pencil) that many things in sports leave us with a strange sense of pre-meditation. Look at the defeat and ouster of Argentina, at the hands of Germany. The guys play like angels under the watchful eye and blaring vocal chord of a god-like coach. They make love with the game. They sing on to victory… And then, all of a sudden, they seem like lost sheep. They decide to invent and enrich their vocabulary of forced errors in “a very important” match”. An ever-attacking side suddenly decides to behave like a battered battalion of brooding Samurais trapped inside a besieged temple. The coach does not allow the youngest gun to join the cannon front. They seem to act out their defeat. How is this possible? Loving in 2006, after all those hours spent reading how heroes turn villains, it is impossible to be of unsuspecting mind. Or, are we fantasizing on a molten memory?
There are eleven guys in this world who would be thanking Fifa for all the noise and drama. You guessed them right. They are the Men in Blue(s). While Germania was erupting, Indian cricket was plummeting into the depths of nonchalance, down under (I mean down under to the left), in the Caribbean archipelago.

They had two basic goals to achieve in the islands. One was to win a Test series after a gap of almost 30 years (In other words, they were going to emulate a Stone Age victory). The second was an exercise in philanthropy—to help the West Indies sweep a One-Day series and rekindle that endangered flame of cricket in the hearts of the West Indians, without whose support and best wishes the 2007 World Cup would die even before it is born. The guys have realized both these goals, with admirable ease and panache, if I am allowed to overstate. And what better time to achieve this paradox of a target, than when even the most zany of Indian cricket fans are lured into the craze pots of Prussia, following a bigger ball.
But how could they even hope to overstep the divine scribes, the sanctimonious windbags of our time, who gather themselves under the most effective four-letter word ever invented? PRESS! Oops, it has five! Columnists and sports writers have been excoriating Greg Chappell and exhuming and parading the Sourav Ganguly cadaver in their attempt to beat each other. Fame-hunters of a different hue, such as Sanjay Manjrekar, are howling at the sun. Others, the watchdogs of propriety, are yodeling in protest. And a third kind, the self-styled know-alls like yours truly, are shooting their pens off in columns like this, on hypothetical conspiracy theories. But that is how we backtalk. We don’t have to think. We presume to have heard an abuse. We pretend to get hurt. And we do the head-butt. As simple as that. As ugly as that.



Blogger Nishal said...

Cleopatra was definitely a spell binding movie.

7:39 PM  

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