I’m no cricket fan (and no I’m not turning in my Indian card, sorry) but some of my most wonderful childhood memories are of watching cricket with my family. Especially with my grandparents. My grandma and her band of sisters turned into a full-blown comedy troupe when faced with ‘their boys’ messing up, and into usurping berserkers with their sword-like tongues when a match got close and things got critical. And if you got to witness one of their disagreements over whether a catch was really possible or an LBW call legitimate, it might have taught you a thing or two about courtroom worthy debating skills.
And if said match was between India and Pakistan the talent in the room bloated tenfold. During one such match, spurred on by the possibility of defeat, I remember squeezing my eyes shut and wishing that the Pakistani batsman, who was kicking India’s backside, messed up. What followed was one of the best lessons my grandfather ever taught me.
“Why would you watch the match then?” he asked. “The presence of better players on both sides elevates the game. The better they play, the better the game. And a better game is more fun for everyone.”
It was about the game.
It was about the quality of the sport. That was why we collected year after year to spend entire days with our eyes locked on the TV screen. When the game got better, it brought in more fans, the game itself grew.
I stopped watching cricket (except when India makes the World Cup finals, that is a cultural experience I wouldn’t exchange for anything) but my grandfather’s words have stayed with me.
And today when this ridiculous article in the Huffpost had this author calling for the best in the game to step away so the rest of us might ‘shine,’ I was reminded of my eight year old self. Because that’s exactly how immature and ignorant her whining is.
For one, darling, when authors like JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyers, Veronica Roth sell tons and tons of books, they create hunger. Because reading something you cannot put down is such a high, few people having felt it once can turn away from it. And in creating that hunger these authors create readers who cannot stop reading, who go searching to bookstores and scour kindlestores and find books by you and me. Success in every form elevates this game we love so much.
And it really is about the game.