“Yeh hai Yangistaan Meri Jaan!”- and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is now seen commanding more on Pepsi and Reebok television commercials than shaping up on field, coming up more as an amateur actor and experimenting with new looks than training and practicing with the coach. I do completely concede that commercialization of sports is a good approach and an important asset for the promotion of any sport. However, in my point of view, too much of anything is the beginning of regression and should be avoided as soon as you realize it.
Today, be it Sania Mirza, David Bekham or Mahendra Singh Dhoni, no matter how popular they may be, the ultimate and the only rational reason why spectators like them in the commercials is because of their spectacular performance in their chosen field and command on their respective sport. No matter how Big and Popular they become, a slight loosening of this grip on sporting finesse and expertise could push them into immediate oblivion and overall downfall. This unrestrained fame appetite could be a possible and a justifiable reason for their downfall. We have seen, it just needs a one- time success story and it wouldn’t take a moment for any sportsperson to come on a reality television show or a product promotional video, and not to mention some of them even try their luck on the BIG SCREEN. It seems sport is only the first step of their overall ambitious list of achievements. If all the sportsmen are busy with the ROYAL STAG advertisement success with Saif Ali Khan just to “Make it Large” (punchline of Stag), who would bother about the sport? Give a damn to it! Leave it to the sponsors. They have enough funds to create a big buzz and glamorize the tournament because they know the spectators can very easily be driven with their hardcore sport maniacal demeanor. Newspapers and magazines are replete with Yuvraj Singh and Deepika’s uncanny rumours and Sania Mirza is being questioned on religious ethics. But Alas! Where has the sport been long forgotten? Yet another case of collapsing sportsmanship among our sportsmen! They are trapped in the race for fame and money and the sport is left way behind, unattended and which would definitely not be attended until downfall.
In the recent T-20, India had played awfully and one of the major, in fact, the most crucial reason for this was their endorsement engagements. While West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe were busy practicing with the spirit they possess, our very own Indians found it more lucrative to get short term and easy benefits by signing in for commercials like Britannia, X- Pens and Y-Shoes. Fancy, our so called international representatives going in for endorsements over game! Where have the standards gone? Is money so important that you would just do anything even when you are upholding your nation to the others? I feel sick when I see this!
Today we see a dying sportsmanship with the rising cases of match fixing, endorsements, on field use of obscene languages between players and drug abuse cases. Why can’t we have a clean game? Why do we have to stoop to use such fowl languages when representing an internationally recognized sport? There have been so many instances, be it India against Pakistan or Australia against India.
There have been so many, in fact infinite cases of match fixing in every kind of sport we come across. Do you think sports would be left with any significance if the game itself is approaching a pre-determined upshot? What do you play your sport for if you already know who is to win and to lose? Just to earn money out of unfair means inside the cloak room? Do you think a sport having international standards should be in the hands of such traitors? Is money and fame more important than sportsmanship for sportsmen? Where has the spirit of winning and winning by your own ability gone? Sorry to convey the message! But that spirit had long faded when they last came in the limelight. Today, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and so many lost faces who have gained nothing but humiliation in the sight of their so called fans, who once in their snaking queues waited for a hastily scrawled autographs by them. Imagine, what impact will it have on the young aspirants who so keenly want to be a part of the internationally standardized team?
True sportsmen never go in undercover for wrong means. Imagine you take your whole time to watch a one-day international cricket match and see India winning against Pakistan. The very next day a news flashes up on NDTV bringing out the fact that the match was fixed. Tell me; being an Indian, would you ever feel that vanity, that pleasure in this bliss of winning? Would your heart actually puff out with pride for your Indian Cricketers! It takes a whole life to build up an image and not even a fraction of a second for the same to shatter.
Today, racism practiced in Australia against India and the hype that is created by the media in relation to this, has also had its impact in the Sport. Do you think after the recent Mumbai Terror Assault and the discovered terrorist base in Pakistan, India is going to play with the same ease and comfort against the two teams? So Indian Sport is also greatly affected by the political and social happenings and we very well know the uneasiness that will come among the sportsmen on account of this.
This goes to all the Sportsmen: Let the Sport be Clean and Real and uncorrupted. Be a Sport and herald a true spirit of Sportsmanship in you. Believe me! It wouldn’t matter if you lose or win. Enjoy the sport because that is just what it is meant to be.
At last in the words of Major Taylor, I would like to conclude by saying:
“I would advise all youths aspiring for athletic fame or a professional career to practice clean living, fair play and good sportsmanship.”
[Image courtesy: http://www.cgc.edu.in/images/spg.jpg