Spice of Life | Gender role reversal with dad batting on front foot
The girl diligently followed the instructions doled out by her father and despite her lack of pace, she displayed signs of a good medium-paced bowler with a crafty technique.
I live in a state that has time and again received backlash for its skewed sex ratio. Yet, Haryana has been the nursery of female players for most of the team games, including hockey and cricket, as also individual sports, particularly wrestling. No wonder Bollywood has churned out two blockbusters around Haryana’s wrestling legends, Dangal and Sultan, and the world jauntily lapped up the dialogue, “Hmari chhoriyan chhoron se kum hain ke!”
Since I teach in a college, I’m privy to the fact that most of the sportswomen that are a part of college or university teams are either from the rural background or come from low-income families for whom opting for sports is a gateway to scholarships as also access to higher education and a better life. Unlike the movie Dangal, where the wrestlers are not only coached by their father but also accompanied by him to every tournament, real-life sportswomen are usually guided and accompanied by coaches.
I am a mother to two daughters and when they were young, it was I who accompanied them to their basketball or skating classes like most mothers. Dads, if any, came to drop and pick the children and if they stayed, they would always be busy on the phone. Therefore, the other day, when I witnessed a father taking keen interest in his daughter’s cricketing abilities, I was not only taken by surprise but was also left in awe of his dedication.
It was evening and I was taking a stroll on the terrace. Among the many elders taking their evening walk and children running around playing or taking swings in the park facing our house, I caught sight of this gentleman in a smart tee and lowers playing catch with his teenaged daughter. There was nothing unusual about it until a few minutes later, I saw the girl running on an imaginary pitch, bowling to a boy, in a professional manner. The father, once she had bowled, called her aside and not only discussed the shortcomings in her style but also gave her a proper demo of how the arm should swing and the right moment when the ball should be released from the grip.
The father stood behind the girl before she threw the next ball, corrected her posture, adjusted the angle between her upper arm and forearm and then taught her the wrist snap. The girl diligently followed the instructions doled out by her father and despite her lack of pace, she displayed signs of a good medium-paced bowler with a crafty technique. The boy standing at the crease pleaded, “Uncle please let me go. I’m getting late. My mother will scold me.” I was literally in splits at this comic reversal of gender roles.
The father replaced the boy in front of the wickets and made his daughter practice some more before the duo called it a day. I’m certain, the father must have left the park contented with the progress of his daughter and must be dreaming of the day when the entire world would be cheering for his little princess.
The writer is an associate professor of English at SD College, Ambala Cantt, and can be reached at email@example.com