Sporting fans make their presence felt
It is fascinating how Indians never lose faith in their team each time players take to the field. Such is the level of patriotic fervor attached to Indian sports that forgetting past records, expert opinions and statistical mumbo-jumbo is an obvious corollary when the national anthem is played. Take hockey for instance.
The national sport has zilch of a presence all through the year. Shabby quality of play on the field and every imaginable controversy off it has plagued the sport for some time now. To a rational mind, defeat at the hands of world champions therefore is obvious. But not to the Indian psyche. When the Kookaburras slammed the hosts 5-2 in their CWG tie, fans gave into emotional anguish. To them, it was like the biggest upset ever. True, the Aussies had thrashed India by the same margin in the World Cup. True too that even a lowly ranked Malaysia had made Rajpal Singh’s boys sweat it out. But on Thursday, the crowds went back home dejected, some with tears streaming down.
Each time the team takes to the field, all big words of globalization and world community falls down to dust. It is India, it is the team and it is that victory that, in hockey atleast, has become elusive, for the fans. Never do they think team India will go down until the players actually do. And when they fall, they rise right back again in the minds of their supporters, before the next match ofcourse.
To call the emotional psyche of the patriotic Indian a figment of exaggeration would be false. To call it complicated though would be apt. No wonder then that watching a match, a game, a bout or a race in India is an experience in itself. Every supporter cheers his side. But every Indian does it with a level of passion that is unparalleled. And then some say there is a missing sporting culture in India. Phew… thank god for that.
By Shubhodeep Chakravarty