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When sports make headlines due to wrong reasons

Mayank

Unscripted drama

We are watching a movie. It has no script or a script that only the almighty is aware of. It has almost every genre embedded in its fabric- action, adventure, drama, tragedy and thrill. It’s characters don’t have lines, but only decisions to make. It has no retake and everything is shot in real time. It uses no green room props or double stuntmen. And in the end it is equally rewarding and ruthless to both its protagonists and audience. This movie is called – ‘Sports’.

A sport presents us the world in its most elementary and simplified manner. You prepare, match up, win or lose, rejoice or regroup and comeback again. It is fair yet unforgiving. There is very little room for back door conspiracies. This is what the people like us living in a tumultuous environment crave for; a sense of a result with a semblance of pragmatism and without the inhibitions of middling shenanigans.

The enactors of these movies are called ‘the sportsmen’ who go a long way in showcasing the various facets of human emotions without actually rehearsing them. They are people like us; you and me who embrace the unknown in the backdrop of adversity every day. Their emotions mirror to those experienced by us every day. This bond of scrupulous realism strings us instantly to that stranger in front of our eyes.

We vehemently rally behind him to represent us. His agonies and ecstasies become congruent to ours. But then a bond is only truly realised by the pain caused from its severance. This happens when we believe that the obscure stranger we had idolised has let us down. Why? Is this story like a hydra’s body- too many faces and too many voices?

Guilty athletes

Let’s consider a few of the recent stories- Lance Armstrong confessing publically to doping charges, Chris Cairns convicted of match fixing and then later of a far more heinous charge of perjury, Cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir and S Sreesanth convicted of spot fixing. Tiger Woods and John Terry charged of sexual misconduct. Oscar ‘The Blade Runner’ Pistorius reached a new nadir in this regard by being allegedly charged of murdering his girlfriend. All the above cases are the fruits of different seeds but sown in the same field- sports. Had these individuals been involved in some other profession, the public would have felt less betrayed. The public eye will always impugn them to have robbed the sports of its serenity, to have tarnished their view of this virgin world.

Lance Armstrong

Let’s immerse ourselves into the psyche of a sportsperson conflicting with these shackles. Armstrong recently quoted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey “My ruthless desire to win at all costs was the driving force in the track, but off the field it led me commit a myriad of mistakes which undermined the very basis of my desires.”

The pursuit of absolute excellence and inability to accept the gallows of defeat drives many a wise men to plummet from their high grounds and banish the same set of rules which baptized their very spirit into the shrine of sports. One’s true test of valour is when confronted by his vices. Cowardice to acknowledge failure underlies a far more arcane crevice in the very foundations of sportsperson’s character. Excellence is not victory, its purity.

Should they be forgiven?

Corruption arises from a gamut of deep sowed reasons ranging from the more psychological like dissolution of self-resolve to the more rudimentary like yearning for a better lifestyle. Establishing its singular cause is like trying to find a black cat in a dark room with your eyes closed. But it can be culminated down to a single pulse of vacillation on the part of any person. The sportsman embroiled in corruption forgoes the sense for a moment that he is an unsuspecting leader of a legion of supporters who play a collective part in his strive for glory.

He forgets that he is a man of oneself but an image of a million others. That particular moment of indecision siphons away the perennial reverberation of applause from the masses in his ears, it steals away the unconditional compassion splurged by his devotees. That particular moment he decides not to be a god anymore, but a common fallible man who waits for purgatory to drive him to his atonement someday.

It is his choice not ours. So we need to ask ourselves, doesn’t his journey to repentance need to be the same as that of ours? Afterall, we forgive god a thousand times even after numerous vindictive experiences he bestows upon us. So, doesn’t one of his creations like us deserve a second chance?

Judgements for far more atrocious crimes like murder or sexual assault deserve to be punitive in nature because these acts cure the cataract of reverence with which the world sees these individuals. Ruining or taking a life has led people to abhor and disbelieve god, a common man doing so can’t even think about summoning a shadow of support from the same public.

Fans viewpoint

Hence, the relationship between a sportsman and his fans is quite wavy with its own set of crests and troughs. And as they say that to have a partnership, you need a handshake and for that you need a pair of hands willing to meet halfway. A sportsperson realises that when he steps on to the field he is a body of one, an image of thousands and a hope of millions, but more importantly he has to realise that on stepping out of the field he still possesses the same spirit which encompasses everything with which he walked into it.

Fans on the other hand, have to finally concede that the stranger they adore in front of their eyes is a ‘man’ first and a ‘sportsman’ later. He has every right to ask for a chance to absolve his sins like the rest of us.

If we achieve this then maybe that movie called ’sports’ will continue to amaze us all in that chaste way……Always.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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