Few days have gone by since Croatia lost a thrilling World Cup Final to France in Moscow. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that a country with population of less than Bangalore and most major cities in India made it to the finals and played a world cup that will be remembered by generations to come.
When the world cup is on every four years, we Indians adopt a “MY DOOSRI” Country to follow. But the real question is will we ever standup for our OWN country? Or do we need an emotional request from our captain Sunil Chettri just a day before football games to go and watch India play Kenya in Mumbai? Or wait for our cricket superstars to tweet and upload an Instagram video and wait for it to go viral on WhatsApp to show up at the stadium. We will keep blaming the government, ministers, sponsors, schools and colleges for every failure. But never we dare blame ourselves.
Iceland, Croatia, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia all with populations less than 5 Million participated in recently concluded world Cup and no country participating in the tournament had a population of more than 210 Million. So Why am I highlighting this, it appears to me that we are a country who take pride in numbers. From being the 2nd most populous nation, to discovering ZERO, to one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it goes on, it always seems to be about numbers for some odd reason.
We as a nation have failed, we the people have failed. I am the person who doesn’t get up at 4 am every day in the morning and practice, I am the person who will not allow the kids in schools and colleges to pursue a career in sports. If they are academically not good then they will be treated as outcast no matter how talented they might be in any other field. I am also the guy who takes pride in our Hockey team for winning 6 consecutive gold medals between 1928-1956, on Abinav Bindra’s individual gold in Beijing, our cricket world cup victories in 1983 & 2011, our football world cup qualification in 1956 (though we didn’t play in that world cup).
I as an Indian sports fan wants to argue who was better in the finals – a Chettri or Pogba, who was the better goal keeper – Courtois or Gurpreet, who was the best midfielder of the tournament – Udanta Singh or Luka Modric. When will we have a Wimbledon final with Yuki Bambhri beating Novak Djokovic in an epic 5 set thriller or a sprinter run flat 9.50sec to beat Usain Bolt’s world record or a Swimmer who will challenge Michael Phelps legacy as the GOAT. Will we ever have our own Mo Farah, Pele, Maradona, Schumacher, Yelena Isinbaeva or Williams sister dual. When will we argue that Sunil Chetthri deserved the Ballon d’Or ahead of Ronaldo and Messi. Will there ever be our own golden generation of footballers like Belgium and Croatia capable of reaching the finals and beating France or any other team for that matter. Will that time ever come or am I just day dreaming too much here.
What is the legacy we are creating and leave behind for future generations; will we just tell them our past glories or will we create some of our own to tell? Will we ever create a system for legends to be born? Will we as a parent let our kids play and build their own future? Will we stop waiting for the government support and do something on our own? will we start asking tough questions to the people in charge? A former FIFA chief once on a visit to India said that “WORLD IS WAITING FOR INDIA” to show up at the world stage. Let us not make them wait any more people. We must start our journey now or we might be left behind forever.When the next world cup or Olympic or any sporting event comes around we must be there.