Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fans & sports teams

Takeover saga at Liverpool is over, but their on-the-field performance remains the same. Mired into relegation, avoiding bottom of the league just by goal difference. Fans have not only passionately followed the events both on and off the field, but also tried to influence the proceedings by protests, campaigns n all. That's how fans all over the world follow their teams, especially in football.

Now consider another news over the last week. 2 franchises dropped from IPL, Rajasthan & Punjab! It was any-ways a disputed decision, showing how whimsical BCCI n IPL authorities are. But 'fans' of these franchises have been conspicuously absent from these events. The very people who pack stadiums during IPL are not at all bothered about fate of their city-teams.

This again shows how flimsy the fan-following for IPL is. Of course, it is great source of entertainment and that's what it is. Only entertainment. Football clubs are part of the social milieu, communities associate with them. That's why fate of Liverpool football club binds all people of Liverpool. 40000 people flock Ellan Road even when Leeds are in League 1. It's because people associate with the club. Sadly IPL still hasn't developed such passions. I hope in India, there would be such sport culture one day, but I don't see IPL being solution for that. To have such passions, you need bottom up approach!

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sports & subcontinent

Last 2 weeks have been amazing for sport lovers in India. Commonwealth games and India-Australia Test series. Both provided enthralling contest and tight finishes. I really enjoyed see-saw battle for 2nd place in medals table between India & England. Hope some of this success translates into Olympic medals.

Talking about medals table, bbc provided two interesting tables along with normal table. It showed population per medal & GDP per medal. India of course was very much at the bottom in both these tables, in spite of healthy medals tally and it was expected. We always lament about India's inability to get medals in spite of huge population. (Indian story has always been about volumes game n never per capita, especially in economy. But that's different story.)

So coming back to the medals table by population & GDP, 4 out of bottom 5 countries in both tables are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. All south asian countries. Bangladesh is at bottom in both these tables with just 1 bronze medal with population of 160 million, 1/6th of India. Still they have managed just 1 bronze. Pakistan another country from subcontinent has won 5 medals, with 2 golds. What's the thing with south asian countries that they are unable to win medals in sporting competition? They are richer than African countries which regularly win medals, if that is an excuse. They are physically similar to Chinese, Koreans if physique is to be excuse. So where lies the problem? Is it just that sport is not part of culture in subcontinent? Question to ponder about!

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