Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Country before Self OR Self before Country

The thing/zing that carried Leander Paes to such glorious heights in the Davis Cup or fetched him the Bronze Medal at Atlanta was the Pride that he derived while playing under the India flag.
Sunil Gavaskar had echoed similar statements (prior to the Australia tour of 2003-04) about Rahul Dravid being the sole cricketer who seemed to carry the India Flag each time he stepped on to the cricket field.
John McEnroe defied his age and nearly beat a young Boris Becker in the greatest Davis Cup match that went for a marathon 6'20''.

I always wonder what makes these people perform at a much higher level when playing for their country than otherwise.

On the Contrary, there are multitudes of other athletes who do not perform even 10% while playing under their National Banner than they do when they play for a particular Club (Euro Sports) or for a Franchise (US Sports).

The US may boast of the Best League for Basketball and Baseball and the players might have Contracts worth millions, however when it is time to put your hand up for playing for the US, they generally Pull a Hamstring, Tear a Knee (Torn ACL) or something else.Ditto for the Top European Football players, they hang on to their Dear Clubs till they are 35 and beyond yet convey their unavailability to turn up for their country (barring the World Cup) after turning 28. Nor do they owe allegiance to any particular club, the minute their stock rises, they switch clubs for monetary gains (barring a few like Paolo Maldini).
[But then, dont we Software Professional's do the same ??]

The only reason I see here is Money and tons of it. The "Risk" (if it may be called) of an Injury to a Player while playing for His Own Country is so frightening that the Club Coaches nearly hold the National Coach at ransom. All is not bad at it seems, otherwise people would have lost faith in these sportsmen long back.
For every Azhar you have a Tendulkar, for every Sampras you have a McEnroe, for every Lawyer Milloy you have a Tedy Bruschi.

It would be worthwhile subject for a Doctoral Thesis to compare and conjure the reasons for such contrasting behavior of Sportsmen. I admire some of the above mentioned sportsmen, but fail to digest the fact that the very pledge they utter of allegiance to the nation is hollow.
The term "Country before Self" falls flat on the face in the Capitalist Countries (barring a few) while it is upheld amongst the least heralded of nations.

I did wonder then on the backdrop of Kargil, should Tendulkar have returned to attend his father's funeral during the Cricket World Cup in 1999 ?


Blogger prabhavati said...

Kargil was Life or death situation for the country.
Cricket is definitely not.

12:12 PM  

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