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Statutory Warning: Overdose is bad for the fan in you!


Cricket is my first love but I must admit that I there are three other sports I follow quite avidly as well. If I were to rank the intensity of my following, it would go as Cricket, Football (the way God intended it to be named), Basketball and then Tennis. I once used to watch almost every single tournament for each but unfortunately, those uncomplicated, lazy days no longer exist and I now have to choose.

This basically means that a lot of the times, I am left checking the scores or catching the highlights of some really good games. But this article is not about that, I was just establishing my credibility because of the statement that I am about to make.

There is an overdose of sports in most of our lives.

More specifically, there is an overdose of televised sports. I am told that there was a time when every sport was not televised.  Of course that is not difficult to believe seeing as even recently, despite living in Canada, I was denied the enthralling Pakistan vs New Zealand series on television. It wasn’t on pay-per-view and it wasn’t on the extra cricket channels that I pay for. Whether the Kiwis had refused to broadcast it on our side of the world or Canada had picked the India vs Sri Lanka and West Indies tour of Australia over it, I don’t know. But that would just be a few of the reasons as to why a sport would not be televised. In the days prior to such advanced technology, the excuses must have been even more numerous.

This brings me to the point that I have been trying to make like a twisted, bearded philosopher for the first three hundred words: maybe, when we say there’s too much cricket, we actually mean we get to watch too much of it along with the numerous other sports that we follow.

It struck me that I have yet to meet a person who religiously follows one sports only and avoids the rest. They may religiously follow one but the rest are still a part of their lives and consumes some of their time. The second reason why I say this is because recently, two very big tournaments coincided with the ongoing cricket- the Football World Cup and Wimbledon-and I noticed similar patterns there.

History was made in both tournaments. In Wimbledon, we had the historic Isner vs Mahut match which went on for so long, dinosaurs claimed to have been alive when it started. I wasn’t able to watch it because the broadcasters in my part of the world decided watching Federer win yet another Wimbledon match was far more important. So I kept on following people on twitter, and it excited me as I eagerly waited for the next tweet to tell me of a result, much like we waited for news in the good old years of crappy coverage. But evidently to those who had to watch the match, it was an utter lacklustre display of talent, with neither players wanting to give up but neither wanting to win it as well. Indeed, day two became so tedious, many suggested they just flip a coin and go about their merry way so the torture can stop.

Something similar happened with the World Cup. I missed some games because they came on at 7am in the morning (I am not a morning person okay?), and later on heard numerous complains about how this World Cup was a sordid affair, with the games being all goal-less snooze fests. Things lightened up when Germany decided to unleash their ruthlessness on Australia but the defending champions actually had to crash out in an upset before people decided that this was going to be an interesting World Cup after all.

Of course the cricket affair amongst all of this was the South Africans touring the West Indies - an event that nearly killed many viewers. The less said about the second test in St. Kitts the better, but it was honestly during that match that I noticed the common theme in viewers complaints- boooorrrring.
Now, it could be boring because of a lot of things: lack of skills, poor play, no intentions of winning or even one sided affairs. Even in the NBA, where literally every second counts, people tend to avoid watching games from the Western Conference before the playoffs, because it is so obvious that no one can challenge the Lakers. But have we ever stopped to think that maybe it is also boring because we get too much of it?

Obviously, I have nothing against televised sports. But it is also true that every other channel has some sport event going on at some time of the day and sport lovers can’t help but follow the latest tournament. Thus, the excitement is lost because within a short period of time, we have literally seen an amazing team performance, individual brilliance, mind-boggling tactics, stunning skills and of course some sort of history. Everything else, after this, falls short.

I fear that the truth is we have seen it all. There might still be many things to still come, but they will be rare like the unbelievably movie-like Uruguay vs Ghana quarterfinals...and all we can do is wait.

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