Monday, December 3, 2012

When the going gets tough...

Life as a sports fan is worth enjoying. Everything that you expect out of life can be had by just being a fan of a particular sports team or player. There are moments of immense joy, sickening depths, unbearable waits, shivering excitement, and bucket loads of expectations. That is partly why I ignore people who comment, "All you do is watch sports. You need a life."

Just like in your own life, there will be some painful moments as a fan. Times comes when your favourite team plays poor. Times come when your favourite player gets injured. Times come when your favourite team/player adopts (what you feel is) a wrong idea, or takes a wrong decision. You wonder why this is happening to your team/club/player. Is it bad luck? Fate? Or just pure stupidity?

If you are a fan, you wonder all that, and stick by the team. It is what the team needs. It is what your player wants- your faith and love.
When your team needs motivation, the fans got to supply it.

This very day, almost all the professional teams/clubs/franchises I support have lost their last game, and are probably in the middle of a poor patch, or just played real bad, giving no assurance of the immediate future. The Los Angeles Lakers are on a 8-9 start to the season in spite of being loaded with superstars. Chelsea FC seemed to have jumped into the ocean, sadly, they chose Antarctic Ocean and they are not penguins. The Indian cricket team hasn't been able to gather steam for quite some time. The West Indian cricket team is not even a shadow of the past. A spark or two just doesn't seem enough to light a fire. And on the domestic scale, Baroda have been hit with a pile of injuries.

I'll point to this day, and say - "That was the day it looked the worst. It cannot get any worse."

I don't worry about my Lakers. They will come around. They aren't even playing full strength yet. I have, in a way, given up hopes on Chelsea winning anything great this season. It is a state you put yourself into to enjoy any success the side garners. You just can't change the driver and expect the car to run smooth right away. The Indian cricket has so many mis-fits, I don't see it running smooth and consistent for now. As for West Indies, there seems to have been no passing-the-torch from the Glory Era to the Sorry Era. I can only hope hospitals in Baroda are wonderful.

What do you do? Do you weep? Do you bail out and jump bandwagon? Do you quit on the sport? Do you call neutral? Do you pick on petty quarrels? Do you sit back and claim you had the past? Do you hope for something different for the future?

There is no such thing as a "true fan". There is no such thing as "round sphere". A fan will believe, have faith in his team to be alright. Faith is all you need to be a fan. It works both ways. When the team doesn't win, your faith will keep the players motivated to get back on the floor the next day and fight for a win.

Wait for the moment to strike...
Sports is about placing the right pieces on a jigsaw puzzle, coupled with the raw skill to perform in the sport. At Lakers, the jigsaw pieces are present. The man handling is shuffling it. The fans are used to being presented with a puppet show neatly manned by the best in the business. It will take some time to get used to jigsaw puzzle. But, like every complete puzzle, it will one day look beautiful. I believe it will. Some moves have given me the glimpse. The joy when the Lakers sucked blood of revenge over the Celtics, is a happy corner I return to every now and then.

Chelsea are owned by a trigger happy man. I'm new to football, but one thing that I've noticed with Chelsea in the recent past is that they perform horribly in November. Sometimes, they shrug it out by December, they keep rolling poor some other times. Instead of throwing a thick blanket, a can of gasoline was thrown on the club that was burning in flames. Still, I believe the flames shall be overcome. Some day. This might take more than a season. This season might be irrelevant. But, there is no need to jump loyalties. This is the right time to fix the car before the long drive. Earlier this year, when Chelsea were crowned champions of Europe, I cried in the middle of the night. The last time I cried, it was when Chelsea were kicked in the groin by Barcelona a few years ago. One canceled the other.

Indian cricket fandom can drive you crazy, it can drive you sane. When Indian cricket team wins, on one day you feel like it was a matter-of-fact. On another day, it is THE moment of the year. vice-versa too. But it becomes so damn irritating to see the team play so bad for so long, you really wonder if there is a future of consistent display. Patience. There is. It may be ugly now. It will be beautiful tomorrow. It is hazy today. It will come clear tomorrow. There is a horde of talent waiting like a bull. When India won the World Cup, it brought out the happiest moments in people's life. Those moments will be repeated, I am sure. I've seen the signs.

The West Indian cricket side are such a joy to watch. Today, that is just how far as it goes. I just hope they receive the guidance they have missed out on, so they can go back to being a grand performing art, and not a broken street play.

It is easy for everybody else to pick on you (me). You don't have a come back. The history is wonderful, but it is not playing today. The future is anybody's guess.
Hear now, reply later.
People will say things you don't want to hear. Words can break your heart. Opinions can cause anxiety. Questions can prick you. That is when the fan stays like a rock. Just, stay there. No rock moves in a desert. The loose sand flies away with the wind. A camp is identified by the mark of the rock near it.

It is time for me to take some low-blows, stabs, back-stabs, hard questions, and some unhealthy words. That's alright. I like banter. I still trust my teams to come out good. They will. That is how every win was earned.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Stand tall, stay tough.

The fruits of faith are sweet.
(photos credit - NBA/GettyImages)