The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Up the ante

Sports is no longer about “what matters not if you win or lose but how you played the game”. It is about win only, and win at all cost.

Not surprisingly, there is no quarter given, and opponents (and their supporters and promoters, too), often up the ante through mind games, aggressive build-ups, etc. This is, sometimes, given martial overtones, as well.

Aggression is not something new. Douglas Jardine’s England team played what became known as the “Bodyline series” in 1932-33 when the prime target was Australia’s Don Bradman. Many referred to the series as “war”.

Steve Waugh’s touring team to India attempted to conquer the “Final Frontier”.

Football fields have, on occasion, become battlegrounds where (often drunk) spectators have pitched battles with fans of their opponents, leading to injury, and, as has happened before, death, as well.

The New Zealand rugby team performs the Haka (Maori war dance) before every game – symbolic of war.

And sledging on the field has only gotten worse.

A badly battered Indian cricket team, hammered in all formats of the game on their recent tour in the summer, now prepares to take on England in a few days’ time, and everyone is asking the same question – how will the team fare?

Some players have spoken about “revenge”. The sponsors of the ODI zeries have called it the “Payback Series”.

And the media has not been shy of calling it a war, either.

The BBC website carried an article (click here) that spoke, amongst other things, of a full-page advertisement that seems to have appeared in an Indian newspaper that carried the headline, “Time for Vengeance – The war between India and England resumes from 14 October.” It showed some of the Indian players, all dressed in combat fatigues, holding bats and stumps as if they were weapons.

Sport is meant to be all about entertainment. To be sure, passions do get aroused as supporters egg their teams on. Yes, there is big money involved because of the television coverage and sponsorship.

Yet, at the end of it all, it is all about a game.

The use of the word “war” in sport might be an example of creative license – a copywriter letting his pen run riot.

It is in poor taste, though.

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October 13, 2011 - Posted by | About this and that, Cricket, Football, Other Sport | , , , , , , , , ,

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