Enjoy cricket, derive pleasures, and manage pains

Maswood Alam Khan from Maryland, USA

We hope Bangladesh cricket team under the captaincy of Shakib Al Hasan will play a good cricket. We, the avid fans, have high expectations in our players. But, we should be realists. We should hope for the best and we also must be prepared for the worst.

What is the greatest blessing in life? Many years back I read an essay on the subject in an issue of Reader’s Digest. I have forgotten the author’s name, but the answer he gave to the question has permanently been registered in my memory.

The answer was: The greatest blessing is human ability to derive pleasures from the wonders of life. The author identified the people who can derive pleasures from such wonders. Three types of individuals, according to him, can derive maximum pleasures from life’s wonders. The first are the babies, the second the poets and the third the fools. A baby, for an example, enjoys most when s/he watches a butterfly hovering over a flower. To a poet a rose remains a rose in its original beauty even in his twilight years as it was when he first saw it as a child. And a fool with no knowledge about science often watches in awe the wonders of science!

In retrospect, I believe the author omitted some categories from his shortlist of the persons who have the ability to derive pleasures from the wonders of life on this planet. The author perhaps forgot to mention about the fans of games or about the individuals who have passionate interest in music or about the octogenarian ladies who still enjoy curling their hairs in a salon.

I tried the other day in vain to make cricket attractive to Jack, an American, who was curious about the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 to be opened in Bangladesh. Jack in his attempt to understand cricket was trying to extrapolate his ideas about baseball, the most favourite game in the US, to cricket. But hitting a baseball and then running around bases before the opposing team can return the ball is way different from what is cricket. Baseball is played by teams of nine players while cricket by eleven players and the grammars of these two games are so different from each other. Unless you are from a country that plays a great deal of cricket, I told Jack, you can’t probably understand exactly how exciting a game of cricket really is. I failed to make Jack a cricket fan. And I also pity Americans as they can’t derive pleasures from cricket.

Why are the cricket fans so enthusiastic about the game? Is it only for the beauty of the game? Yes, it is the beauty of the game that enchants a fan; but, it is more the magical influence of the game that helps a fan discover a unique quality of life, a quality of life that excites his pleasures and lessens his pains — a quality that helps a fan discover a new meaning of life.

Like everybody a cricket fan has also his or her pains, some physical and some emotional. A cricket fan, like any other fan of any other game, remains oblivious of all his pains and worries at least in those moments when s/he remains immersed in their favourite games either as a player or as a viewer.

Bangladeshi people are crazy about cricket. They love talking about cricket everywhere, no matter where they are.

They make every effort to have access to viewing cricket matches. The ICC Cricket World Cup in Dhaka has opened a new door for our cricket fans to splurge on cricket. The great cricket event has warmed up the entire atmosphere of Bangladesh.

Usually, we, the general viewers, watch a cricket match to see our favourite team winning. But for serious cricket fans, the real aficionados, it is the match that matters most, not just their favourite team winning. Such aficionados watch a cricket match with different eyes from different angles.

They analyse performances of individual players; they dissect each strike, each ball, each over.

Only a fan can understand the importance of cricket in his or her life. If truth be told, cricket has become a kind of a religion in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi cricket fans are so much involved in the game that many of them have already availed leaves from their workplaces to watch the cricket event. Many Bangladeshis have deferred many of their decisions to focus on cricket. One relation of mine has deferred his visit to America and father of a friend of mine has deferred very urgent surgical operation in his eyes — only to enjoy the World Cup Cricket without hassles.

World cup, the biggest tournament in the field of cricket, is the event that cricket fans so eagerly await, to see how their favourite players and teams fare against their opponents on the field.

We hope Bangladesh cricket team under the captaincy of Shakib Al Hasan will play a good cricket. We, the avid fans, have high expectations in our players. But, we should be realists. We should hope for the best and we also must be prepared for the worst.

In case, our Tigers are defeated in spite of their sincerest efforts we must not forget to applaud the valiance of our boys. We should remember that our players would feel terribly sick at a defeat and we must not add insult to their injuries. Our dreams may be shattered. Our grievances may continue for days, for months or even for years. But our pains will have to recede soon if we take our defeats and our opponents’ victories graciously. We must not lose our sanity. Our hearts must not be allowed to be broken. We should learn the art of managing our pains.

E-mail: Maswood@hotmail.com


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