Wednesday, March 29, 2006

That relationship once again

Continuing on the theme of Indian cricket players and the pressure placed on them by fans (the fickleness of Indian fans is another dimension to this but one that I will not consider now), brings us to the nature of the demand placed on players by fans. For instance, it is stuff like the posturing at fashion shows, and the all the endorsements that a moderately successful players finds himself making, that typically tend to get Indian fans most worked up when the team does badly ("how can you concentrate on cricket with all these distractions" is the most polite of these questions) and which players defend most resolutely ("the two are different and one does not have any effect on the other"). As with any sufficiently complicated topic, there is a germ of truth in both positions. One can't imagine that all the constant attention, (the endless hero-worshipping, and the constant adulation at times), is not a distraction in some way, and can make the whole business of playing a game slightly unreal. If all your adulation constantly comes in contexts far from the original achievement, this is bound to happen (of course, Indian cricket players constantly get feted on grounds but a great deal happens on India's humongous, buzzing, bubbling media scene). But at the same time, there is something a little off-puttingly insistent that the player engage in Spartan activities when off the field, all in the name of keeping his fans happy. Their hard work brought them to a point where within the context of the society they live in, they can indulge in that which was previously denied them (its not hard to imagine that being in the limelight can be pleasurable for some folks). Why deny them this pleasure? Its not their commitment to us that we as fans should be questioning, but their commitment to themselves, their personal goals. If what they wanted was a little spot in the limelight, some brief moments of fame, and are not bothered by the need to transcend personal limitations, then why be worked up about it? Thats how they want to live their lives; what is lacking in ours that we make someone else's personal decisions the focus of our wrath? [Yes, yes, I know we stay up late to watch them play but there is something else going on - I'm not going to act like a shrink just yet but will try that explanation a little later]


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