Posted in Cricket

The agony of losing

As I type this post, Australia have yet to take on the mighty New Zealand (or the other way depending on your perspective) to see if they can lift the world cup for the nth time or if they should let the Kiwis hold the cup for the first time ever. But then, I am an Indian cricket fan. To me, the tournament practically ended today. I will still watch the final – Rooting for New Zealand, but I won’t have the emotional investment – the kind I had till now.

I feel totally drained off. Yes, I owe it to lack of sleep as I had to give up my entire night’s sleep to watch the match. But then this was the not first time I did it during this world cup. I had done it at least 12 other times (of which 7 times were for the 7 Indian matches). Yet, my exhaustion today is much more felt. Much more on the face. Much more effecting.

Ha, the agony of losing…

Just the other day, I was narrating this to my son, of all the trials and tribulations of my cricket watching habits (rituals to be precise) when I was a kid. All the way to high school. Superstitions notwithstanding, my family, somehow put up with my quirks and eccentricities (and even some occasionally piddly violent outbursts). It was mostly my mother and brother who dealt with my tantrums. May be because I was better behaved in other people’s presence – no violent outbursts, though the quirks and eccentricities were an integral part of the cricket fan in me. The loss of the cricket team I was rooting for was something I couldn’t handle in a sensible and a sporting way. On the contrary, I took losses of my own cricketing teams, for which I played, in a much more sporting manner. No tantrums at all. Losses were always disappointing but never distressing. But again, it was a different story when I was watching the Indian cricket team lose. There was normally a sense of mourning in the entire household for a few hours after the match was done, if it involved Indian cricket team’s loss. Very few words were exchanged and they were mostly functional. My mother and brother knew better not to bother me.

Over the years, I would like to believe I have changed. Less superstitious and less ritualistic about watching cricket matches for sure. And since I watch most of the matches alone these days, I have learnt to hold onto my emotions I guess. But the losses – oh well – They still bother me the same if not in worse ways.

Ha, the agony of losing…

Why is dealing with losses in sports such a process? I consider myself a sports fan as I enjoy a wide variety of sports. Cricket, Soccer, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis, etc. And losses in some sports are really harsh to deal with. Even though I may sound biased, if we plot our mood swings against losses of our favorite teams/players in different sports, I am positive that losses in cricket will have the highest score. In other words, it is much more painful to deal with losses in cricket than in any other sport. Simply because of the duration of each match. For almost 9 hours a fan is forced to sit in anticipation of a desired result which he/she doesn’t get in the end. Now, compare that to any other sport and hopefully you will agree with me why losses in cricket need the most time to heal.

Ha, the agony of losing…

Why do sports losses bring out the worst in some of us? Some of us battle it internally – for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or a couple of days. But most of us do end up fighting that sinking feeling. That feeling of helplessness. That feeling of being lost in absolute darkness. And then there are those for whom the inner demon wants to analyze every single second of the game/match that ended, to look for reasons on the field or look for scapegoats and as obnoxious as it may sound, to even look for reasons / scapegoats outside the field. We are such sore losers walking around in sheep skin holding our inner wolves in search of victims. At least many of us are.

Is it also true that losses in cricket matches in India are pushed to an entirely new plane and are dissected, analyzed and pulverized upon for all the wrong reasons? It’s almost like sports take a new meaning when it comes to cricket. No wonder they call it a religion in India, because religions are after all the reason for most violence in the world. The Indian cricket fans are perhaps a prime example of my above theory that cricket losses have the worst bearing on fans. They fly and drive in thousands to watch a match, no matter what & where. And when the team wins, they celebrate them but when the team loses, they don’t quite spare anything – Right from the grass on the field, to the sledging that happened after over no. 12, to some cricketer’s lover being at the stadium to watch the match, to some cricketer’s 3 month old baby, to the team manager’s ex-wife –  Indian cricket fans don’t spare anyone or anything, when the Indian cricket team loses. They even get ready to ransack the captain’s house in his native town, just because…

Ha, the agony of losing…

And what burden it is to be an Indian Cricketer!!


Besides fantasizing about being a Peter Gibbons at least for a couple of days at my work, I think I have a long way to go to realize some of the other fantasies. But like any ambitious man out there, I will get there! Note: All views expressed in this blog are mine alone and have got nothing to do with my company Cogent IBS, Inc., its employees or any of its affiliates.

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