Currently, I am at that stage of being a Messi fan where I do not really care to debate with people about his supremacy in the game. There used to be a time — a stage of being a Messi fan, rather — when i used to fiercely contest in every Messi Vs Ronaldo debate. Now, I hardly feel the need to do that because I have somewhere peacefully accepted the fact that he is the GOAT. The greatest of all time. I have settled for him irrespective of the misses and losses.
If you ever had a chance to ruminate over our involvement in sports, you will be astonished at the degree of our emotional investment in the games. There are winning and losing sides in all games, but when we are so invested in a game, winning and losing is not just another thing, it is everything. This is no new phenomenon though. It has been this way since the very beginning. From the time you played gully cricket in your short-pants and football during the lunch hour at school. We were always hell-bent on winning. This feeling of nail-biting intensity does not last too long, it may fade a little after the game is over but those moments when we are in it, we are totally invested. It is almost as though our entire life depends on it.
The equation of success in sports largely depends on an X factor — Form, which I described briefly in an earlier post. Given the fact that Form is a combination of both controllable and uncontrollable attributes, such as fitness, external conditions etc., achieving top form is not entirely in one’s control. As a result, even the greatest may sometimes put up only an average or perhaps even an abysmal show. The results are always going to be unexpected, even when you put the same teams back on the field a second time, the game may play out drastically different.
We feel a sense of belonging with the sport or sportsperson we support and admire. By virtue of which we celebrate their victory as ours and we feel shattered when our side or our favorite athletes screw up. We see fans cry when their teams loose. We worship our sporting heroes as idols. We have some extreme members in every fandom. For someone who’s not into sports, this whole idea sounds as crazy as a loon.
But all said and done, sports still bring out the better in us. They teach us so many things — to win and loose with grace and dignity, to practice your way to perfection, to play by the rules and respect authority and to stay focused on the results.