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. 😛