Monday, July 20, 2015

Mary Kom

In our nation, we have a certain blindness. Let’s call it cricket blindness. That is not to say we are blind to cricket. But the other way around. Our love for cricket blinds everything else.

It is this selective love that keeps other sports stunted in the nation. If you go back three decades, our victory in the 1983 cricket world cup was a miracle. Its not to say we didn’t deserve it. But something clicked at the right moment to turn the tide in our favor. That day could have been another world cup down the drain for us.

But once we won the world cup, a certain frisson caught us and our cricket fever has lived on though the team’s performance has been variable. Other sports have not had this major luck. Coupled with indifferent sports bureau’s in the nation, we seem to be just going through the motions.

Mary Kom has been three times world champion in boxing. Yet I got to know about her only because of the movie. Her story is a classic example of succeeding against extreme odds - fueled just by her love for boxing. Her second championship victory came against extreme official and personal difficulties. She was a mother of two and was on the verge of losing one of them. She then defended her title once after that.

Some of the things she went through professionally because of bureaucratic politics made me very sad. Agreed, she had some character traits she could have tempered - but that doesn’t validate the treatment she received. When the players put the nation first before everything, at least the administration should do their job and not make things harder. I wonder how players from other fields feel when the see our cricketers being pampered with money. There’s one dialogue in the movie where Mary Kom tells the IAFB chief - “we will with the help of your tea and banana’s”. Really? Is that the kind of support they get?

About the movie - Priyanka Chopra’s performance was excellent. Barring just one or two scenes, her personality had vanished and just the character’s personality was shining through.

On a related note - I love the promos for Kabaddi going on Star. Big B and Salman promoting the game, the theme song and the other promos. This is the kind of revival for the other sports I am talking about!

Let’s build some solo tennis champs and a world class football team as well! While we’are at it, let’s work on a ping pong team and athletics as well. For all these, several things need to happen in terms of infrastructure, funds and all.

But as I see it, the core thing is to build a love for these games among the public in large. Star showed us how to do this successfully with Kabaddi. Why not take this forward for all sports!

Here’s wishing Mary Kom the best for her attempt to bag a boxing gold in Rio 2016!

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