Sunday, the 13th of May 2012 was one of those days that will definitely make it to the list, if ever made, of the most intriguing nail-biting days of sports action (considering all times in IST). It was a super Sunday – Cricket, Tennis, Football, Basketball, Formula 1: You name the sport, you had matches. What made it a super-duper Sunday was the fact that most of the matches had climaxes that would have made the makers of Hollywood action films very proud!
Time : Around 9 A.M. IST. The Los Angeles Lakers took the Denver Nuggets out in a closely fought round 1 action in the NBA play-offs. There was a point of time in the final quarter when the scores read Nuggets 86: 92 Lakers! Even though it wasn’t so worrisome for Lakers, as someone who had watched Coach Carter just a few days back, I couldn’t help but think otherwise. That match was just the start, a teaser of things to come later in the evening.
Move to around 7 P.M. IST.A two year old rookie racer, Pastor Maldonaldo from Venezuela, who is just in his second Formula 1 season, took the chequered flag and won the grand prix at the Circuit de Catalunya pipping home favourite Fernando Alonso. This made it the first season since 1983 that has seen five different men take the top step of the podium in the first five races in a season. Frank Williams must have been a happy man to have finally seen a Williams car win a race for the first time since 2004, which would explain how unexpected this victory should have been! If that victory was unexpected, what’s more to come bowled us over.
The time is 7:30 P.M. IST. Over the happenings of the next two hours, I can safely place two bets.
1. Any football fan watching the matches involving the two Manchester clubs would not have switched channels between ESPN and Star Sports more than the no. of times he/she did today!
2. Many fans would have sent messages and called friends when the final whistle blew at Sunderland congratulating a Man Utd fan or commiserate with a Man City fan not predicting the volte face! So much for their predicting ability!
What happened just in the one minute is something that can happen only in sports, and probably an earthquake. No, not even a tsunami or a tornado can be so unpredictable, as these days, one can predict them with precision! But not sports, not football and definitely not the Barclays Premier League 2012 title!
If Manchester United tried to prove the famous Rocky verse ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over’ in the context of the final day, Manchester City pushed it further by taking the context to an even more microscopic level – final minute! For any fan who wasn’t emotionally drained with the wins of City and United, there would not have been many better moments to appreciate what sports can mean!
The battle between Arsenal and Tottenham for the all important 3rd spot wasn’t far behind. It had its own share of suspenses to offer and went down to the wire!
Post the Premier League drama, one would not have expected more twists in the day. How wrong could I be!
Move to around 11 P.M. IST: At Madrid, on the blue clay, Roger Federer was doing what he does best – Chasing history, this time for a record-equalling 20th Masters event title! There were moments of intrigue in this tale too. The first one came when Federer couldn’t serve out set two serving at 5-3. Later, he prevailed and set two was taken 7-5. The true moment when fans of Federer might have done the job nail-cutters are supposed to do might have come when he couldn’t close out the match serving 5-3 in the third. Finally, he romped home with a last gasp near-perfect return game to seal his 74th title and a hat-trick of them at Madrid. A roller-coaster of a match that was witnessed, aptly, by Hollywood action star Will Smith!
We are not yet done. Remember It ain’t over ‘til it’s over;
Move to 11:30 P.M. IST.
Kings XI Punjab had to win three on the trot to qualify for the IPL play-offs and their first match was today. At the above mentioned time, they needed around 58 runs off the last 4 overs! David Hussey’s hardwork and Piyush Chawla’s blitz took them to a point when they needed more than 35 off the last 3 overs. In came the final darkhorse of the day in the form of local lad Gurkeerat Singh. He played sensible, smart and cool cricket to score 29 off 12 to help Cricket get into the list of sports that provided unlimited drama.
Like Mr.V, the mask-man says in V for Vendetta said, “Remember, Remember the 5th of November”; years later, a sports fan can lay back and say “Remember, Remember, the 13th of May”. This one doesn’t rhyme, but who cares about a rhyme when there’s so much thrill that sportsmen can provide us fans with, absolutely free of cost!