A horde of excited children, from toddlers to adolescents, followed by their equally thrilled and indulgent parents or guardians, stormed the Centurion minutes after players trooped off to lunch.
In no time, the venue hosting the India-South Africa Test match transformed into a
neighbourhood playground, with mothers turning their arms over to test their wards’ batting skills, fathers giving football lessons to their young ones and many others just running around the ground with their kids.
“Hope you had fun out there, now it's time to enjoy the game,” someone announced on the public address system as the players got ready to return. Their beaming faces as they walked out from the stadium were proof they had great fun.
Probably, they would remember those 40-minutes of fun and frolic on the hallowed turf more than anything else from the match. A simple gesture from the stadium management had made their day, made them feel like stakeholders in the game.
The good times didn’t end there. After the hectic but enjoyable workout, elders walked back to a glass of beer and sumptuous meal, and children wolfed down their favourite snacks.
Sprawled on the grass banks or on cushy chairs enjoying their drinks, some chatted away while others listened to music on i-pods.
In another game at Durban, a family even celebrated birthday of their son in the stadium, with others promptly joining in the celebrations. So, while it's one big party inside the stadium, getting there too isn't much of a bother.
They simply drive up to the stadium, and invariably find some smiling and willing faces to show them the way. Once inside, the party begins.
Lessons for us? Try and make it fun for the spectators.