Not for the Fainthearted
By Maxwell Pereira
was a rare combination of academics and sport. Much as he is still
remembered by students for his musical rendition of Sanskrit shlokas
during language classes, he is also remembered for his ability
to spot sporting talent. He was the college physical director
as well as the head o the languages department. As a little boy,
I remember his pride when one of his protege's was 'cap'ped for
the Indian Test cricket team — and how later he was heartbroken
when the protege returned to the pavilion scoring a duck, having
been bowled out on the very first ball he faced.
My own cricketing hopes were dashed to the ground in my early
teens when the swinging bat of a player got me squarely in the
jaw while keeping wickets. I never played cricket again, but went
on to excel instead in hockey, football and other sports and played
at the school, college and university levels.
having been said, I suppose I'd be hiding the truth if I did not
admit to being infected periodically with the frenzy and passion
that grips one and all in our country during the cricket season.
Without being overly ebullient or excessively effervescent over
it, suffice it to say I am patriotic enough to want my country
to win. And though I am not particularly over the moon when we
do win, but am definitely scathing and critical when our boys
lose. Also, being a bit superstitious in these matters like Narayana
Murthy of Infosys, who feels India invariably loses when he watches
a match, I try and avoid an overdose of TV viewing.
back to my pater's heartbroken state when adversity struck his
protege on the cricket field, I cannot but help sound a word of
caution to old and infirm among us and those with a weak heart
on the possible adverse consequences of excessive excitement over
these issues. Consider recent reports in the British Medical Journal.
There was a 25 per cent increase in heart attacks in Britain when
England lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout in the 1998 soccer
World Cup, and 14 people died due to strokes and heart-attacks
in Netherlands the day the Dutch football team was knocked out
of reckoning by France in 1996. I suppose it is advisable for
those in the vulnerable categories mentioned, not to let their
hearts flutter excessively during the exciting and dying moments
of a match.
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