I remember in my early years in Canada, how judgmental I was about sports madness here, meaning, how many types of sports and games are out there, and how passionately people watch them, follow them etc. From basketball, American football, hockey, golf, tennis, baseball, you name it, and it seems there is always some ‘game’ is on, which cannot be missed. Then the climax reaches during the Superbowl or NHL finals, I mean, its like the devotees/fans experience an ultra orgasm of energy during the big games. And I was very critical and judgmental about it. And us Indians/Sri-lankans/Pakistanis/Asian immigrants in general don’t’ have time for these bullshit north American games, we have better things to do, was another judgment I was carrying.
Press Forward to present, the other day I set the alarm for 3am, to watch a world cup cricket game being played between Australia and Sri-Lanka in Australia, and nothing could have prevented me from watching it, all day long I had been pumped up about the game, talking about it, reading the previews, reading the expert analysis, even imagining how victorious my team would play it out.
A week or so earlier, it was the big game between India and South Africa in Australia as well, some 86876 was the crowd attendance at the MCG, Melbourne Cricket Grounds, jam packing the house with insane noise level that must have disturbed even the astronauts at the international space station, of course, more than 90% were Indian fans. And they were no different to European soccer hooligans screaming for their teams or North American hockey fanatics screaming for their teams.
So debunking myth number 1, that only North Americans are insane about their sports while us Indians (all sub-continental folks actually) are too busy working hard, or too studious to follow sports. How insanely wrong I was. Be it Indians, sri lankans, or Americans, when it comes to sports, we are all polluted with the same virus with a different name. I am mad about cricket while my Canadian friends are mad about hockey, but we equally insane.
And bit of nationalism is there too, it’s not just cricket they want to watch, everyone wants to watch “their national team” win, how interesting is this. Given that Indian immigrant population is larger than most other sub-continental groups, the games with India are full house events while others not so much.
And I am equally mad about this game obviously, because as a child, I have been polluted with cricket, so now the world cup cricket is unfolding, I am insane enough to wake up at 3am to watch a god damn cricket match which we lost. This ruined my whole next day.
And I can only watch ‘my team’ playing, other teams playing each other I have no interest to watch, certainly not at 3am.
So this goes to prove without any doubt, sports is a religion, it gives us great emotional boast, a super charge, feels go great when our teams win. Nothing like it. Sea of national flags, the national anthems to start the game, I mean you have all the ingredients of war, while emotionally charged fans fanning it.
I found within myself how I still have some energetic movements when I hear the sri-lankan national anthem, a country I absolutely hated when I left back then like a Jew escaping Germany, yet the virus is still in me, I can still be moved to the anthem, not so much to the flag, but the anthem does something. So the game day and all the ‘nationalistic propaganda’ that goes with it all amounts to a mighty orgasm.
Anyways when I watch my team play well, it gives a serious boast of emotional rush within me, I mean this is nothing but an orgasm, a mind job, feeling so great, though next day it comes down rather fast.
How dangerous when we think about this notion of nationalism, a feeling can spark a war. A country can be moved by just feelings of nationalism to vote for a war, much like a cricket match, they want to win, they want that energy/orgasm. Power. Nationalism is about the feeling of power and pride, mostly power held over others.
I am yet to understand how I can watch a game without being orgasmic about it, i.e wanting my team to win, and hell with others. This is the cause of war and inequality in this world today, everyone wants ‘their team’ to win while the rest can starve to death. Interesting how religion promote the same thing, ‘my religion’ is right while the rest can rot in hell. War isn’t’ it, religion is war just like sports. Ask any Indian or Pakistani fan during an India vs Pakistan cricket match, it’s a multiple orgasm, you have nationalistic war plus the Hindu vs Muslim war, all jammed together in cricket. No wonder the fans burn the down the houses of some of these cricketers upon defeat, while elevating them to god like status upon victory.
I may have stretch somethings a bit here, but you can’t deny the madness, the insanity behind sports, and what purpose does it serve, certainly it’s not about the artistry, or the skill of playing cricket. Not to mention all the money and gambling involved in this, the rulers, the administrators of the game, for them, it’s all about the money, while for the common man, it’s the feeling of nationalism and pride, the mega orgasm. And for the political elite, its about keeping the masses entertained. It’s a cheap form of war, that rushing feeling when your team wins.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing this robotic thing called nationalism to exist within myself.
I forgive myself for accepting this robotic idea of ‘attachment’ to ‘my country’ or team.
I forgive myself for experiencing ecstatic emotional high when my team scores a victory and grieve when they lose.
I forgive myself for calling this sri-lankan team as ‘my team’, I mean here is a country I escaped from persecution, yet call it my team? Where did I get this attachment from?
I forgive myself for being moved by the national anthem because as a child I allowed myself to surrender to national anthem and national team etc.
I like to really understand how this ‘attachment’ to my team came to be, I mean I am not nationalist about the country itself, I don’t salute the flag, I don’t’ pledge my allegiance to that country, yet I allowed their cricket team to possess my mind, no other team can give me that emotional rush. I like to understand how I came to be like this, when did it all start?
I forgive myself for liking the ‘feeling good’ factor when my team wins.
I forgive myself for not seen/realizing what I am looking for is that ‘feeling’ upon victory. I mean I don’t’ a fuck about the people or the state of affairs in that country of my birth, yet I am devoted to the outcome of a cricket match, and take much joy and pride in it.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to identify myself with the country of my birth, I mean, I could have landed in any part of the world, I clearly didn’t’ chose my landing site, it was all designed and programmed unto me. I was set to be this robot from the day 1 of my life, and somewhere I acquired this strange thing, ‘attachment to my team’. Interestingly enough however during the 30 year war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri-Lankan government, I would have been considered an enemy of the Sri-lankan state, for I had feelings of sympathy for the tamil tigers and utter disgust towards the SL government. But when it comes to cricket, I am in bed with Sri-lanka.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to associate ‘nationalism’, ‘anthem’ to mother, meaning, “love thy country like thy mother”. Within this I see/realize the words of the national anthem starts with “oh mother lanka”, sort of referencing the country as a mother.
I forgive myself for blindly accepting love for a country, and for its cricket team. Here I must state that I have ‘no feeling’ for any other affairs of the country, only its cricket team is keeping me stuck with it. Specially after 30 years of war, I don’t’ feel much love for the country, but then I am puzzled why I am still in love with their cricket team? Well, its the childhood attachment, even as young as 12 I think I started listening to cricket commentaries on the radio and watching cricket matches to become this ‘hooligan’ that I am today.
I mean the point is not cricket, it’s why I am attached to this country’s team? Why do I call it my team, why I am a devotee to this team? It’s all about feeling it gives as it did when I was 12 or so. I mean clearly during the early days when Sri lankan cricket was just entering the world stages, back in the mid 80s, I would quickly switch off from cricket when I realize they are being beaten in the game, I mean I have no interest in watching a game where my team is losing. I only want victory, that feeling of victory.
I forgive myself for detesting the feeling of defeat in sport and desire only to win. Within that only watch when the game can give me that great feeling of victory, otherwise I have no interest.
I forgive myself for admiring and adoring cricket heroes from my childhood. I mean they were like demi gods. I never understood their livelihoods, how come these sports people play continuously entertaining the fans, I mean its like a prostitute always in a ready state to perform for the customers.
I forgive myself for using these sports people to give me that great feeling, essentially treating them like whores who will provide me with a great feeling. I mean I have played cricket thru the entire summers, and I know how tiring I get by the end of the summer, yet I ask for these players to perform well throughout the year, in every game, in every tournament, like whores, they must give the best, so that I can feel good. The fact that they make big money is a different issue, I have to consider they are no more playing for the joy of the game, when so much is overdone, very difficult to sustain the spirit and love for the game. Yet we ask them to do so. Currently the sri lankan team has been on a tour for 3 months, that’s a long time away from home, and they still got 3 more games to go, with the final being on march 29th, and the whole nation expects them to win the cup not considering how exhausting these guys must be by now. No wonder injury count is arising with each game, with six men already out of play now due to injury. Yet the machine must play and play to win, so we can all dance and be merry for the day. Forget everything on the morning of march 30th. As nobody talks about the our last world cup glory, as we can no more produce emotions out of it. So need some new wine/wins. This is what a game day is all about, give me that feeling, give me some win(e).
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