Archive | Judo RSS feed for this section

Cricket, Me, and Tardness

24 Jun

It was fun growing up in 90’s. Watching Cricket in 90’s was even better.

But playing cricket, but not just watching, was the best.

For me, there was no such a thing as DravidTards, SachinTards, AustralianTeamTards, KumbleTards, WarneTards etc. etc. I liked all of them. I liked the whole team. I was fan of Nayan Mongia, Ajay Jadeja, even Vijay Bharadwaj, Kambli, Prasad, Srinath, you name it .. everyone. I wasn’t even old enough to evaluate or understand, who was skillful in the team and who was wrongly picked. Nothing sort of thing. I just wanted team to win.

I never had lust of having their autographs or never bought their wall-portraits and fantasied like many teenagers do. I didn’t even ask that I want Sachin’s picture notebook or Rahul’s. Or neither I cared to find out what state is that player from!

Whenever my team won, I got happy. Whenever they didn’t, I felt sad.

It was THAT simple.

As we touched 2000, I grew up. (very cool right 🙂 ) I got wiser. Started to understand even further about the game. 2003 WC came. India played many ODI’s. I didn’t get to see whole 2001 epic Kolkata win against Australia. We had temporary BW TV, as we were shifting to new house. I didn’t even get to watch much of test cricket as my school time was 9-5. I come home, if there is any day-night ODIs, I watch them, IF I had done my homework. There was no such a thing as internet. Forget the highlight, not even score card. Was I even keen enough to check every single scorecard in newspaper, as I am right now? No. Only when India won. I would barely even look at it, if India would have lost.

Then, What was I keen to do at that time, related to cricket? Play cricket. Play real cricket. I used to get at least an hour everyday to play gully cricket. Not only cricket, I played all kinds of games. Marbles, hide and seek, Kabbadi, and there are zillion other games which doesn’t have English name. And of course, if you have read my earlier post, I did Judo as well, in depth.

So, what do I want to say? What is my point in all this?

My point is that I never actually had specification or THAT teen-age sportsman love or that eagerness or that bias feelings like I would be happier if certain individuals have scored runs I would be happier that certain others in the team scored. I mean I felt same happiness. Even right now, I would be happier if certain individuals score run without a doubt, but I always had that kind of feeling that let it had to be Indian batsmen or bowlers.  Let it be from the team I supported from childhood. I never had or even today, I never had ill feelings if one player from the team should score more than others.

There was no that crazy ‘Tardness’ developed in my brain, it has lot to do with my age, very limited media exposure, I had no access or interest in Ranji. Nothing.

It was simple. Team won. Tendulkar scored runs, Kumble took wickets, Jadeja played cameo, Azhar caught splendid catch.

It got even simpler around late 90’s and mid 2000’s. Dravid scored, Ganguli scored, Sachin Scored. They all scored. Tons of runs. Mammoth partnerships. Team won. Yay.

And then enter: Access to internet

Statsguru, Forums, Blogs, Videos, More stats, Ranji trophy numbers, which player come from what state, who are Sachins Dravids Gangulys Kumbles competitors in terms of wickets runs … etc. etc.

It just got messy. You start to wonder, ‘Can player actually do that?’ ‘Is this player better than others?’ ‘Is he really the special one in the team?’

Then you tend to follow game very closely, you tend to compete players within team. You tend to question importance of the players within one single team more than you compare your team player than others.

The Tardness was born.

Has tardness ever entered my soul? Has tardness ever polluted my mind? Has tardness ever made me to hate players within a team?

It wasn’t easy. In rise of Internets, access to scorecards, stats, reading articles, reading zillion hate comments, it wasn’t easy. It just wasn’t easy to pick side. It wasn’t easy to adore just one … just one player from team so badly that you can strip any other player with vicious arguments, backing up with specific knocks or specific bowling attacks or specific situations.

The answer is no.

How can it be? I played cricket more than I watched. I never had access to internet, when my consciousness was strengthening. I didn’t even care about what player is from what state. I just supported team. I still support team.

That’s why I have never let Tardness enter my brain. Yes, I might like watching certain players more than others, but Tardness is different. It’s like teen-age love. It’s an obsession for player, that I have never developed in my brain. I never grew up that way. I was very sane by the time, I had access to internet.

I mimicked Dravid’s batting style personally, loved watching Sachin, thrilled when Ganguly stepped out of the crease to hit 6, said ‘YES’ loudly when Kumble’s googly came at > 90 km/hr crashed into stump, widen my hand in air (afridi-style) when Prasad knocked of Amir Sohail’s off stump etc. etc. The list goes on.

I might have Tardness for team. I am not sure if I have ever insulted or question players within team. I might have defended my players. All my team players, all the time. Hack! I even adored Robin Singh.

But right now, with technology, statsguru, videos, score cards, IPL, Ranji, all things available, growing up without having tardness is almost impossible.

If you were born in 70’s and 80’s, and were aged >6-7 entering 90’s, I am sure it was just easier to avoid tardness, unless you had access or immense interest in Ranji and team selection.

And I am glad that I was never involved or never perceived my team or team players that way. It was just easier supporting whole team, though my team was losing quite often. 😛

Advertisements

The Final and Me

1 Apr

So, This is it. Final.

The dream. The Pain. The belief. The Trust. The destiny.

The End. All ends here.

In Mumbai, the dream starts at 2:30 local Indian Time at Wankhede.

I would not like to be in 2nd place now. We are almost there. I know… I know you are sore, guys, you are in pain, mental exhaustion more than physical. Because you can numb your physical exhaustion, but mental exhaustion on top of more mental pressure of ‘what it is to be in the Final and not win’.

Phew. It’s horrible, if that happens.

I want to share my personal sports experience.

I was in around grade 8. I had just won the state championship in Judo, weight 35-40 Kg, beating 6 opponents. So, it wasn’t an easy tournament, I played at home. So, you can say, it looks like I had the home advantage. But, in reality, I didn’t. When almost your whole family comes there to support you, to cheer for you, you can hardly distinguish who is shouting or what is being shouted!

You can recognize their voices, while you are fighting. And THAT can be distracting if you are the emotional kind. But, I defied all that – I beat all 6 of them. I still remember how much Glucose powder and water I was chugging after each fight. I was literally boiling. I couldn’t drink much water because I was on an empty stomach. I was so exhausted when I got on Mats for Medal, The Final Fight.

I couldn’t feel my limbs as much as I wanted to. I couldn’t grip my opponent’s Judogi properly. He was slightly skinnier but taller than me. I had wide shoulders, he had very strong legs, constantly moving. In short, he was quicker than me. His Fight- Body position was slightly leaning FWD, that’s offensive posture.

But I don’t know what happened at the time. I have this thing for Mats. I have this thing for the battlefield. Whenever I get on mats, something happens to me. I become an animal. Even in friendly matches, I had sometimes done very offensive throws on my team-mates. AND yes, I have been slapped/scolded for that kind of approach.

So, anyway, I started to stare at my opponent, and did not let him grip my Judogi for 20-30 seconds.

And then, a sudden burst of Epinephrine started to fire. I went for Morote Seoi Nage. Got Point Yuko, which is not enough to win.

Then again. Same Throw. Point – Yuko. Then again same throw, Point – Koka.

I was just so tired. And Time was done. I had won. I couldn’t believe I had just won the 2nd state championship.

Happy Moments.

Not for long though.

We had to go to a 7-day training camp, including those who came 2nd. All weight categories, to prepare for National.

But here was the problem. There was re-fight between the 1st and 2nd on the 7th day, whoever won that went through to National.

Gulp.

I was warned by my master, that DO NOT EVER SHOW YOUR TACTICS, your strength, your abilities in these 7 days.

But I couldn’t help it. I got on the mats in a practice session. We were practicing how to get out from most severe holds. I had developed so many techniques getting out of holds. Many unorthodoxtechniques, just like MSD’s unorthodox shots. In that friendly practice, I was being held by one ofthe boys who was in 40-45 kg category. He held me so tight. My neck was in severe pain. I started to forget those words from my master (to not expose my strength).

Sadly, that epinephrine thing, Mat thing, the animal thing, kicked in. I pulled off from that hold. Igot out of that hold. Using my unique style. People were stunned. The coach who was training us fornational was stunned.

Everyone clapped. My chest swelled. I smiled inside saying “Yes” “I am the one” “I know I amspecial”.

Unfortunately, this practice session was just the day before final Re-Fight day.

You can sense, inside of my mind, I was confident, so confident that ‘Meh, I will beat him the 2ndtime easily”. A guy who shared a room with me, with other fighters for 6 days, who became friendswith me, training together, playing together, eating together etc.

Also, my whole family traveled to the place a day before the re-match, with all of my Judo-teachers.

From our batch, there were 3 more girls and one boy, me. But, who was the one, they were the most confident about! Me. They knew I had the most amount of skills, strength, and hunger to win this again. That coach who saw me like this in practice session told my master what happened, and what I could do the night before. I was in trouble. He came to me and showed me angry eyes, telling me ‘what on earth was I doing! Showing off! I warned you not to show off!’

I was psyched, I saw my whole family had come to watch this re-match. Even my cousins came to see this. They all surprised me. I was happy, but I got so psyched with all this. I was so confused.

Suddenly the Evil question troubled me for whole night.“Can I actually re-win this again?”

The moment that question started to roam around my lobes, it was like a hideous parasite was roaming around jumping from one lobe to another. I was in shock. My face was like the face of an 80-year old who was suffering from constipation. All other weight categories, knew that ‘Meh this guy will make it for sure’ and we had even started to plan for our great journey ahead going to play national.

But that “Can I actually re-win this again?” – that … dreadful virus … actually parasite in fact, was haunting me. No-one knew about it. Only I knew about it. Only I could feel it.

I was under a clinical depression kind of thing.

And the bubble burst. I got on the mats, I felt I had nothing left in me with all this mental exhaustion. I was going for throws, all half hearted, no strength at all. Couldn’t execute any throws. My eyes were searching for help. I knew I was in trouble. Time was running. My opponent managed to get Yuko point. Only 1:30 left. I was going for fluke throws, nothing was working. I tried at least 4 times that good old Morote Seoi Nage, the one that won me my gold medal. Nothing worked. My opponent was sensing fear in my eyes. It was like he had decoded me in these 7 days. I was losing. My dreams were shattering. I still remember my masters’ attempt to help me do this and that, showing signs, he never does that to anyone. I remember those disappointed faces on my cousin’s eyes, who came specially far away to watch me win so I can go to the national, which was avery big thing. I was in pain. Not physical. Mental.

And it happened. End time bell rang.

I lost.

I was shattered.

After match, my cousins were trying to console me. I was running away from everyone. I wanted an empty place. I wanted an alone place, I could feel that something was going to happen to me.

We had to line-up for a resign letter from this camp. Official letter that stated that our Camp wasover, and we were going home.

I burst in tears there. I cried like, I never did in my entire life …. till today I haven’t cried like that. I was in grade 8. But still, I won one more state championship before this, I went to national beforethis. This was my 2nd. But I cried.

I was given nickname “Parshurama” by my Master. Why? Google that name. Google that Giant and look how that character has been portrayed and described.

“Parshuram” cried like a baby that day.

Sigh!

The most dreadful day of my life. I still remember that I cried and saying “I don’t want to go home, I want to go to the national”.

But, you can see that I didn’t actually deserve to win. I was mentally weak.

So, what’s the connection of this with Cricket? I just wanted to give glimpse of this Final and Players, try to see from a different perspective what competitors go through days or hours before big match. I know I was just a tiny boy and it is like dirt compared to a massive cricket world cup final and team India.

However, the intensity of pain that will be felt from loss, will not be that different.

So, I wish Team India to pull this off. Don’t make the mistakes I did.

Please, don’t be psyched by occasion.

Please, try to ignore those billions’ expectations.

Do the right thing.

And the right thing is

to Win it

For yourselves.

This is it.

The Final. 

EDIT: P.S. – Thank You Team India For winning the World Cup. Edited at 4/20/2011