Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Anand Vishwanathan - Congrats. But am I happy?

Yesterday was a day of mixed fortunes for Indian Sport. On the one hand you had Anand Vishwanathan being crowned the World Chess champion. And on the other hand, the Indian cricket team was knocked out of the T20 tournament, after all avenues and possibilities were closed.

All avenues - including relying on and hoping for other teams' failures. We hoped and prayed that West Indies loses to Australia and that Sri Lanka loses by a minimum margin to India.

Before the former case was decided, India's fate was sealed by its own doing or undoing. One last chance and it was squandered.

Sadly, an Indian getting crowned the World Champion is not a news worthy of more than a corner of the sports page in any leading newpaper. Because the game is Chess. It would have been the same situation had it been any game other than cricket. So Mr. Vishwanathan can never hope or expect to be given a huge reception on arrival in some City, then driven around in a long motorcade with people lined up on both sides of the road, and then felicitated by a team of 'Netas' on a dais in some stadium. Why not? He's a World Champion after all. The reason is he's not a cricketer.

If India were to focus equally on many other games, if lavish budgets were distributed among these games which would ensure better facilities, coaches and trainers etc. there would be many more World Champions. And India would not be left with just relying upon just one game which today is the source of all entertainment, joy, pride and disappointment.

Let's have variety. Let's have a choice !

And by India - I mean us Indians - each one of us, who seem to know about just one game. Let's look at other games and other sportsmen. Pay attention to them - glorify them too just like we do cricketers. Celebrate their success and also cry with them when they fail.

In short, let us own them too.

And what do we need to do, to achieve this? All we need to do is watch more of those sports. Go to the stadiums to watch which is even better, or even watch on television which is good enough.

It is the Indian viewer of TV is the King ! In the economics of sports, media and entertainment, he actually has the power to change the fortune of a game or a sport. He has to simply make a choice - to view a game or a sport or not to view it.

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