Forty-five unforgettable hours has given me hope, spark, ecstasy, joy, loneliness, browsing cricket scores impatiently from office, vigorously typing social media updates, watching highlights multiple times, waking up late night in despair, hope, spark, ecstasy, joy, loneliness, surf channels but hoping for goal alerts, then the improbable, the unbelievable, the war cry in middle of the night (5:34am I think), waking up my wife to share the joy, unable to sleep for rest of the night, walking with drowsy eyes and an ever yawning day in office.
Two unforgettable sporting events.
Virat Kohli and Luis Enrique’s belief; Ashwin & Neymar Jr’s brilliance; the never-give-up attitude by both sets of teams and turning around the impossible. I hope to live to tell my grandchildren about this one magical day and one magical night.
On paper, to the neutral or to the indifferent; nothing great has happened. India, the number one ranked cricket team, after an embarrassing home defeat at Pune, pulled up their socks and equalized the test series at home 1-1 against a team they were expected to brush aside. FC Barcelona, the most successful football club this century, after an embarrassing defeat at Paris, pulled up theirs too and somehow managed to reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League 2016-17, against a team they were expected to brush aside. Barcelona have reached the same stage of the competition, a world record nine times before. This tenth instance is more a rule than an exception.
So what was great?
It was the never-give-up, the never-say-die, the never-stop-believing attitude. Perhaps this was the single factor which made the basis of two legendary sporting teams of their respective discipline, this century.
The Indian Cricket team has now the most prestigious and hardest fought cricket trophy, Border – Gavaskar Trophy, and number one test cricket ranking, in their hands. Wins in their remaining matches vs Australia in March and they conquer it all.
Barcelona has fought back in the La Liga title race the last two months – they have the title in their hands – if they win all their league games from here. Around Christmas time, that seemed improbable.
As an Indian, it’s a great time to be a supporter of these two teams. It always is, anyway. And anytime you feel low, down and out in life, just remember two things:
- India were effectively 33/4 in third innings at Bengaluru test and were biting the dust. Twenty-four hours later, Australia were 90 runs away from victory and six wickets in hand to do the job. 0-2 down in test series and had all potential to be extrapolated to 0-4 hammering for India. But you kept the hope alive and your team fought. You must do that in life.
- FC Barcelona were effectively 3-5 down and a few minutes away from biting the dust. Three barren minutes and Luis Enrique’s swan song season, could yet have been his worst season with Barcelona. But his team did the impossible.
A match is never lost, till your opponent has won it!
Moral of the story: Never switch off the TV, the internet, the alerts, or leave the stands thinking about traffic. Never stop believing in yourself and in your teams. They are a part of you. You eat, live, breathe, drink, extract energy, get a spring in the step, take pride and exude confidence from them. Always!