Thursday, December 28, 2006

Unsung heroes..

Yet another aimless evening was being wasted surfing on orkut.. Scraps were being sent .. Scraps were being read. Profiles were being visited , albums getting checked ;) ; ).. And then I came across this profile of a certain Shikha Tandon. "Could she really be the same girl ? " , I thought to myself. Yes .. She was the same Shikha Tandon.. the one I and my friends have ridiculed for finishing 40th in her free style swimming event at the Athens Olympics. Every other discussion with my fellas about sports in India would have her name and her performance being mentioned. Being true to myself , I cudn't help but try to get to know more about her.And just five minutes after going through her profile , I was a changed man.

Here was a girl , so much like me.. A girl who has always stood by her friends,someone whom they swear by .. A girl who loves cracking pjs, pulling people's legs and doing things what any other youngster would ( atleast that is what the testimonials say ). But there is more to her. Unlike me , she is the best in the country at her sport.Yes... The best.. Then , how the hell do I mock at her for finishing 40th at the last Olympics ? Who gave me and my mates the right or the privilege to make her the laughing stock of all our sports discussions ? Okay .. She has never won a medal at the biggest events in world sports . But how many inter building cricket competitions have I won ? Why din't I realise till now that unlike me , she chose not to take the easy route.Pursued her dream , fought ( and is fighting ) the system and the competition , and yet excelling against all odds.In a country where sportspersons other than cricketers find it tough to get any recognition , where parents prefer their children to be doctors or engineers rather than swimmers , she has dared to follow her dreams. Unlike so many of us who get our kicks by dwelling on the failures of our countrymen,she had the guts to be different.
Orkut also led me to Anup Sridhar's blog. For the uninitiated , Anup Sridhar is the country's ace badminton player (am sure a vast majority of the country doesn't know such a guy even exists). Other than the orkut profile , the testimonials , there was something more that was common to the two of us. Our blogs .. Neither of us manage to get any comments for our posts. Reading about his honest description of all his recent matches , his expectations , his determination and the fight he has put all these years , made me realise how wrong I have been about sportsmen like him all along. Why were their efforts only weighed with their standings at those international events ? Isn't rising against the system and being the best in the country a triumph in itself ?

Read Saina Nehwal's interview today .. " I won't hesitate to advertise for the cola companies , since the money earned out of it would help me pursue my dream of an Olympic gold ." The sentence itself tells about the paucity of resources at their disposal.
There are so many such sportspersons languishing in the wilderness in our proud country. I sincerely hope their efforts and sacrifices get recognised someday. And a Puneet or his friends don't belittle their efforts because of the inability to win Olympic medals..

Albeit a little late .. I am full of admiration and respect for individuals like them. Surprisingly.. infact funnily.. it is orkut of all places that has brought about the change !!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Remembering the Titans ..

Doesn't take much for me to get nostalgic .. Most of my time spent longing for the days gone by.
And with Pink Floyd playing in the back ground , yearning can't be too far away.
Was lazing around in such a setting and then suddenly had this friend drop a bombshell..
" Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath retiring after the ashes !!"

Wtf !!! Come again bhai ... Are u drunk ? Or do u want to just want to get battered ? This ain't happening boss .. They aren't allowed to leave this way !!

Hesitatingly logged on to only to have them confirming the dreaded news .. And just like the tears , the images came gushing ..
Mike Gatting getting bowled with the ball of the century .. The repetitive yet so unbelievable bowling in the 'corridor of uncertainty '.. Sachin getting caught behind for the umpteenth time .. The raucous celebration of Gibbs' wicket during WC '99 semifinals.. Some memories those !!

They used to call Bishen Singh Bedi "Poetry in Motion" .. ( That he has become so crabby now is another matter ).
But I don't think there has ever been a more fantastic image than watching the blonde legspinner toss the ball thrice , take those five steps towards the crease , coil his body , and then give that violent rip to produce yet another stunner..
Lara has the genius .. Tendulkar the talent .. Kumble the stubborness .. Murali the consistency .. But Warnie has all of those and something more. Something that always made the cricketing world eat out of his hands.
( Hes had all those pretty women as well ).

While Warne and his skill has always been something to be captivated by , Mcgrath never brought about the same emotions. Seeing a young Glenn with an 'Agarkaresque' built always made me wonder how long he would last. But hes gone on and on and on .. Kept bowling those maidens , kept getting the caught behinds , kept getting under every batsman's skin , ( and kept getting dubious lbw decisions against Tendlya ).
I've always thought to myself ... " What if Mcgrath was as good a batsman as he is a bowler ? "
Could've got pretty close to Hobbs' and Bradman's record .. eh ?

Yes they had their ugly moments too .. The Sarwan event , the silly doping scandal , the bookies episode , all the sledging , the smses ... And quite a few others too. But then , that is what the men were all about. Wholesome entertainers .. in their own very ways.

Hundreds of pages would be written about the two great Australians in the coming days ... Thousands of adjectives would be used. Probably a million tears too would be shed on hearing the news. But one thing is for sure...Nothing .. absolutely nothing would be able to fully capture what they meant to cricket. Come the final day of the Ashes test at Sydney , International cricket would be a poorer place.

In AC/DC's words(even though a lil contorted )

" For those who've rocked us .. We salute you "