Even as sport has become one of the most lucrative professions, with sporting events promising high TRP ratings, some sporting debates refuse to die down. With the Beijing Olympics dominating headlines — and the Google search bar — it’s no surprise that the Games are the theme for a post or two in the blogosphere. But it’s all getting a bit boring.
For one, winning is still a dirty word as bloggers write about the spirit of participation and other such glorious philosophies. Do you think Shah Rukh Khan was interested in ‘just participating’ when he bought the Kolkata Indian Premier League team? For those who missed the point, he was interested in winning. It’s all fine to say that the Olympics should be a showcase for sporting excellence. But take away the medals and the four-yearly games wouldn’t create half the buzz (even with the ‘China factor’ this year).
A second favourite topic for bloggers seems to be the entire sport-means-national-pride equation. Questioning why the Olympics should be “about representing one’s nation,” blogger Usha Vaidyanathan of Ageless Bonding (agelessbonding.blogspot.com) asks, “Is it right to criticise her for putting her passion to play
before considerations of patriotism?” The ‘her’ Vaidyanathan refers to is American basketball player Becky Hammond who opted for a Russian citizenship to be able to ‘participate’ in the Olympics. To answer the blogger’s question: yes, it is reprehensible. Would her blog read the same if in the next World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar was to play as part of the Australian cricket team?
Quoting George Orwell’s Sporting Spirit (george-orwell.org/The_Sporting_Spirit/) article made perfect sense at one time. In 1945. But not any more when there are more blogs — not including news websites and sports channels — on sporting scandals than sport itself.
If Bob Reno’s badjocks.com has a scoreboard that lists sportsmen (and women) ‘tasered’ by cops, high school coach sex scandals and golf carts in water, Buddy Maguire on F&*%$d sports.com provides us with a daily dose of sport scandal. Then there's Off Wing Opinion.com’s Eric McErlain who takes a dig at anything and everything sporty. These are just three of the few blogs on sport and all point to the fact that the spirit of sport has perhaps changed.
And in the spirit of the times, perhaps it’s high time for Indians to stop lauding participation. Think nationalism and put more merit on winning — lest we have to wait another 28 years to see some gold.