Monday, July 12, 2010

PAUL'S PREDICTIONS

So, Paul’s prediction, once again, have come true! Spain won the football World Cup as predicted by him.

He is an Octopus, and I think, he lives in someone’s home aquarium. Wise fellow, this Paul.

“Do you believe in such predictions?” a friend of mine asked me last evening. The Finals were a few hours away. Paul had predicted the German doom; before that, of Argentina. Naturally, some fans are so angry with this Nostradamus that they have sworn to deep-fry him for their dinner.


I watched the match last night. Spain won. Paul, too

What difference does it make if I do not believe in such predictions? Normally, I don’t. But, I don’t tell this to any one with all my convictions,  whether any one – least of all an octopus or a parrot – can predict some one’s future. I have not laid any importance to such predictions… It is better to be anxious about our future and remain humble, slog it out… rather than ‘knowing the out come’ and going off to sleep.


The hare lost the race, because he had gone off to sleep as the poor tortoise slogged it out, slowly and steadily. Last night, both Spain and Netherlands slogged it out. I don’t think, believing in Paul’s predictions would have made any difference for Spain. They slogged it out. And, they slogged it out hard.


But, it is fun to be a little curious about our future… to peep and ask what is there in store for us? I am a Leo. This 24th I will be completing 52. The Leos are rulers, it seems. They are born to lead, they say. They are full of pride, it is said… they do things in style…with great deal of showmanship… That’s what Linda Goodman and her clan say about Leos.

For the past 51 years, I have been a simple soul… just simple homebound guy. What have I ruled? Which kingdom?

Well, let me tell you with all my honesty. I, too, read my horoscope. I like the good things in it and smile. I do not like the bad things in it… so, I laugh… even say, I do not believe in such ‘silly’ things. It is fun to be silly sometimes… There is thrill in it. Playfulness.

Who cares about Paul’s predictions? I think, we all do as long as those predictions suit our taste buds. Else, like the bitter German and Argentina fans, we would love to have Paul deep-fried for our dinner.


Meanwhile, let us go back to work… and slog it out the way Spain and Netherlands did, last night. I am curious to know, if Paul watched the game!


GERALD D'CUNHA

Saturday, July 3, 2010

YOU WIN SOME; YOU LOSE SOME

When Brazil lost in the quarterfinals, yesterday. I am sure, millions of fans, worldwide, must have sunk into a depression. Netherlands are a good side. But, certainly, no one had thought they could trounce Brazil the way they did. Brazil were the favorites… and for the millions of fans, they were the Supreme, the unbeatable… They deserved the Cup… the great glory of the shining gold!

But, the great Goliath of Soccer crashed… and, along with him, the hopes of several million fans, world over.


The second match, last night, was between Uruguay and Ghana. It was a late-night match, and I went off to sleep half way. In the morning, both, my son and wife, who had sat back to watch this contest, echoed, “You missed something.” It seems, this game had all the thrill, suspense and drama. Finally, in the penalty shootouts, Uruguay got in, and Ghana, who had stolen millions of hearts with their fine skills, got out. My son kept telling me that, it was one of the finest Soccer games he had ever watched.

My son had already forgotten the fall of Brazil that had happened just a couple of hours before. There were new Heroes, new hopes… and the little David’s to reckon with. I said to my son this: “I have this wired feeling inside me.” He looked up at me to ask, “What is that?” I told, “One of these little-known teams, the Underdogs, may take away the Cup.”


Who knows? Tonight, there is the real clash of titans – Argentina Vs. Germany. They say, they are the old enemies… and, the world is waiting for the evening to come.

In one of my earlier posts, I had written about K’nnan’s famous World Cup anthem – “Waving Flag.” I had titled the post as: “The Flag of the Underdog.” In the song, the singer from the poor country Somalia sings: “When I get older/ I will be stronger/ They will call me freedom/Just like a waving flag.”

The beauty of any sports spectacle is this: No matter how good you are, you cannot take any opponent for granted; you cannot afford to wear a bloated head on your shoulders. Please do not under estimate the grit of a David. If you win, you had better be humble and shake hands with the loser… respect him… tell him, genuinely, that he tried hard to win… Then, if you lose, take the defeat in your stride… Shake hands with the winner and congratulate him… Tell him, sincerely, that he deserved his victory. When you play, play a fair game; do not foul… And, if you do, there is a referee with a yellow and red card. You had better know that. Winning the cup is your goal. Pursue it with all your passion… but, then, be prepared to let go of it… Be graceful in your defeat and humble in your victory. Soar… and come down to earth. Sulk… and bounce back, again.

That is why they call this great spirit, this great attitude as: ‘Sportsmanship’. Nothing beats it in life. Nothing. “Say No to Racism”… this is not just a placard. There is great power in that statement. It takes enormous strength to appreciate and honour the skill and greatness  in my servant, my slave. Gone are the days of slave owners… It is a New South Africa, now… The Apartheid is history here… It is the land of Nelson Mandela. You had better know that this little ‘coloured man’s spirit could not be crushed even after twenty-seven years in the prison. You had also better know that even after twenty-seven years of torture, the human spirit has not been contaminated with bitterness.


It is sports, my friends. It is Soccer… It is about the Cup, the goals and jubilations. It is about the defeat, penalties, the red cards, heartbreaks and tears. It is about respect and dignity. It is about recognizing the greatness in others… their equal right to win. Above all, it is about recognizing our own greatness.


There is no spectacle in life as huge as sports… Like it or not. And, there is no school as fine as that, as well. Yes, you agree with it or not. If this one attribute decorates my life, I think, it is much of an achievement for me. In fact, I have hardly played in my life any indoor or out door sports. I have been always shy in this area. But, then, I have loved sports all my life… I have always loved to be a great sport. I think, when I am a great sport, I am a great winner. It doesn’t matter, who takes away the Cup. The Cup is just a symbol.

Brazil lost to Netherlands, last night. The incredible venue for this spectacle was named: ‘Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium’!

GERALD D'CUNHA