Cricket Fever – Bringing People Together
Its cricket fever, and normally I am not an ardent cricket fan, but if that were true today, I would be the only person in Sri Lanka who would have been immune to it.
Its no secret that I do not go out of my way to watch cricket. When I have occasioned to watch it, I have enjoyed the exciting parts, but have never been able to sit for a whole day in front of a TV watching it ball by ball. Having said that I did watch the 1996 world cup, when Sri Lanka won for the first time.
Today Sri Lanka plays India, in the 2011 world cup.
The fever, the atmosphere, the energy and enthusiasm every where you go, every person you talk to is incredible. How can 22 men, couple of pieces of wood and a red leather ball, one large sized ground, turn on, exhilarate and bring together a nation?
But apparently it can.
I imagined an energy field the size of Sri Lanka, with the hopes and dreams of 21 million people travelling and finding its way to Mumbai, India to join our cricket team today as they play the finals against India.
I suddenly realized that I could possibly be the only person in Sri Lanka not making plans to watch the world cup with with someone else or with hoards of crowds. I realized that I didn’t want to be alone. I needed to belong, and feel part of this amazing fever – be part of this energy cloud on its way to Mumbai.
While I may not watch cricket on a normal day (it is my belief that the sports channel button on my TV remote has rusted over the years of never having been used), I do want Sri Lanka to win! From the bottom of my heart I have hopes and dreams that today Sri Lanka would win.
I called one of my very close friends, and told her that I didn’t want to be alone today in the afternoon and whether I could come to her place. Not only did she gladly welcome me, she called me back in 5 minutes and said she and her husband and children will come to my place to watch the match so that I don’t have to drive back alone in the night after the match. What can I say? I have very very good friends.
And then only I realized the power and magic of what has just happened. I, someone who would not normally even watch cricket, not even understand the game that well, is having a cricket match party at my home!
How could this be?
I wondered how could we recreate this magic of wanting to belong and be together in other important issues.
If only we could distill the secret magic ingredient that does this ‘bringing together’ that blinds us to our differing creeds, casts, race, religions, political alliances. If only we could extract the formula and mass produce this feeling of togetherness and bond we would never want to harm each other again on the basis of our differences.
Apart from the 22 men, couple of pieces of wood, red leather ball and large sized ground there must be some other ingredient.
A game of sports played in the international arena (or anywhere) brings together years of dedicated practice, skills, art and focus on to a specific goal – to play the game well. Knowing very well, that at any one time only one team can take the award home. But a game well played displays the craft and skills and dedication and passion of a group of people who are willing to give all they got to play well, and win. A cricket game has opportunity for stunning display of mastery, for dismal failures and mistakes, for periods of playing it safe and boring, for taking extreme risks. Its a place for leadership and team work; of patience, heroism, enduring pain, of doing the work that must be done to play the game well.
While 22 men do this on a field, everywhere in Sri Lanka and India and many parts of the world, they are not just being watched – but ‘actively’ watched. With music, with flags waving, with friends. The pride of a nation is on that large sized ground in Mumbai. Our hopes and dreams are there on that pitch.
Can we not replicate this audience fever and passion in other areas.
If we were to create enough fervour and passion for complex issues like protecting our environment or even for just making our roads safe to travel on, creating good driving habits. Can we not all cheer on and wave flags for learning to love and respect each other despite different colour, cast, creeds and religions?
I know we can. I don’t know how exactly though.
Today, I don’t have answers, but I know of the possibilities and potential of how 21 million people can come together as one voice, one hope, one dream, one vision and one mass of collective energy. It is possible.
Now I must stop writing, as I have some important errands to run – I must prepare for a cricket party at my home. In exactly 6 hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds Sri Lanka plays India to win the world cup!
Wishing Sri Lanka the World Cup, Wishing both teams a game well played, and wishing all those who are watching the match all the energy and excitement of seeing two well deserving teams excelling in their sport, in their skill, in their art;
… and most of all wishing all human nations, societies, communities, families the ability to come together as one voice, one hope, one dream, one vision, one mass of collective energy field to do the important work of creating a better world to live in.
Image Credit (C) Ima Hassen