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Support someone unconditionally or don’t support them at all – something that should be told to all ‘fans’ who vilified members of teams who lost in the cricket World Cup 2019.
Winning is not the be all and end all of life. It’s just a part of the overall process which we have given more importance than we should.
Whatever you do in life you will have moments of triumph but you will also have moments of absolute despair and frustration. If you do something just for the love of it, defeats will not put you down permanently, nor will it make you feel inadequate in any way. All you would care about is how to get better at it. Your love for it is not conditional to the success or money that you may get from it.
Similarly if you unconditionally support a team, it wouldn’t really matter if they win a lot trophies or nothing at all. Whether they are more or less successful than other teams wouldn’t be of any consequence to you. All you would care about is to see them do their best. There will be times when they will self-destruct. There will be times when they try their best but not find any success. But all that will be secondary to the pure pleasure of watching your team play.
The Cricket World Cup has just finished, with India losing to New Zealand in the semi finals, and England winning the series against New Zealand.
I have always liked watching cricket. The World Cup a tournament where the top ranked teams come together and play a series of matches over a month or so to determine the winner of the trophy.
Any tournament gives people (players, experts and fans) a chance to see their team perform and evaluate where they are at in terms of skills and identify areas where they can improve. That’s it. There is nothing more to any tournament than this. But it’s made out to be much bigger than what it really is.
There are teams that will play better or worse than your team on a particular day. Your team may end up as winning or losing games because of it. But is winning a session, a game, a match or even a tournament the only thing that defines them?
Does it mean that all your efforts have gone to waste? Does it also mean that who you are is defined simply by your numbers and those of your team?
The problem with such a mindset is that whenever you are not on the winning side, be it in a game or in a tournament, you feel like a loser which you are not. And you start putting yourself down every time you lose which can be incredibly damaging to your self esteem and mental well being. This is true both for you and for the team that you support.
A lot of people around you make you feel like your team has done something blasphemous by losing to a particular group of people (Ask Indians and Pakistanis) or that your team chokes under pressure when it comes to major tournaments (Ask South African cricket or England football fans). The fans, experts and sometimes even the players buy into this falsehood that your team has to win this game or this tournament to prove themselves. But is that really true?
Ask yourself as a fan if you have a right to get personal about a player or a team and call them names when they don’t perform like you would have expected them to?
Ask yourself whether you feel that you can put your team down publicly just because they don’t do the things that you would want them to? Do you realise that when the players are going through a tough time they need your support the most?
Ask yourself whether you would start doubting their intentions when they lose even after trying as hard as they could have?
Ask yourself why, when you pretend to have all the answers to why your team is not doing well, when you may not know as much about the game as they do.
Ask yourself whether you parade your team as a trophy when they are successful? Would you then use this success to insult other teams, their players or their supporters?
Ask yourself whether you would try to be mean or abusive to anyone who does not support or play for your team, just because you believe that doing so would increase the chances of your team winning the game? Wouldn’t that also mean that you don’t consider your team strong enough to do well at their game by just focussing on themselves instead of trying to weaken the opposition in any way by sledging or any other unfair means?
And finally, ask yourself whether you would do the same to someone close to you if they were in a situation like this instead of standing by them through success and failure? Instead of allowing them to just do their thing while accepting for who they are and being at peace with whatever the future holds for them?
Image source: YouTube
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