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’!



rashmi said…
This is really an refreshing article. I think all watching this game & also those who just hearing the comments or discussing about the matches r all sharing this 'sports man spirit' because they all are so exciteded while speaking & hearing about the game.For awhile may be but from within they all feel great about the player who makes the goal, even though he is from some other far away country.
At the same time feels bad foe the player who just misses goal after such an hard strive.
I think in life we must really live with this 'sportsman spirit'.
Girish said…
In this fifa world tournament we had real good games by Japan, Ghana, South Korea, Portugal then what we had expected from Brazil. Yes its rightly said never to underestimate anyone. We have all learned this during our school day in story of Lion and Mouse but most of us forgot the story.

Times passes on and there will be new heroes, new champions, new faces with every match, what remains will be memories and chapter called experiences and the show goes on.

Somebodys win is somebodys defeat. It requries a great courage to accept the defeat in same zest as we welcome success.

No matter we lose but we should not lose the spirit, esteem and our will to strike back. As rightly mentioned in the comment by Ms Rashmi "Its all about Sports Man Spirit"

Thx for this chapter, teacher....
yati said…
my name is Yati.
"Soar… and come down to earth. Sulk… and bounce back, again"
i really liked this statement. :)
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi Rashmi, thanks for the feedback. Pl fogive me for the delay in my response.

Yes Rashmi, so much to learn from this Soccer Spectacle... I get goose pimples, when the players exchange their jercies (Spl), shake hands to lift a player who has been fauled... when they sob in pain or joy... when they do not compromise when it comes to a good fight... and walk back taking defeats in their stride!

Last night, after Spain won, their captain-goalkeeper was unconsolably crying. With him, I cried, too!

We all are connected, in mysterious ways, Rashmi.


Gerald D'Cunha said…
Oh Girish! You reminded me of the Lion and the Mouse. Yes, I, too, had forgotten it.

Time passes, without waiting for any of us... and, as you have said, with the new time arrive new heroes, new faces and new lessons to learn.



Gerald D'Cunha said…
Hi Yati... Welcome!

The more I think about a sport, the more I get convinced, that living and playing are very, very inter-related. It is important that we play to win... but, it is even more important that one of us has to lose for one of us to win... One has to soar, while one has to sulk.

Life comes with this inseperable package.



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