“Worrying gets you nowhere. If you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost. Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.”
-Usain Bolt, Introduction Unnecessary
I got up the other day and, quite routinely, opened up Facebook. It’s not the healthiest thing, I’ve been made aware in the past. But wait! That’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m not here to talk bout how I secretly stalk people on a site where they’ve voluntarily put stuff about themselves.
My point is that I came across a certain picture uploaded by The Hindu that caught my eye. To be honest, it’s not the post that got me fuming. It was the content. Before you are led to jump to conclusions, I would like to say that I angry at what had happened and not because of The Hindu’s post.
This is the post. Yes, it comes across as a proud featured image of the victorious Sakshi Malik as she raises her flag succeeding her endeavours at the Rio Olympics. Yes, I am proud to be an Indian alongside her. No, I’m not as successful as her, or that I had any part in it. But yes, I am proud.
WHY IN YOUR MOST DARKEST DEPTHS OF YOUR MIND, WOULD YOU GIVE HER A JOB AS A REWARD? WHY HARYANA, WHY?
Yeah, it is notable of you, if not noble, to give an athlete a hefty sum to save your government’s sorry *blushes*. BUT A JOB?
If there’s anyone who could understand the amount of stress society can put you through, it would be an athlete.
Sportspeople around the globe have to put up with the constant ‘it’s not a real job’ jibber jabber. In India, they have to put up with that and then even not have proper facilities. Almost as if we’re too afraid to make it a ‘real job’.
And if that isn’t enough, you consider a reward to years of effort and tireless training, a job? Oh wait, I forgot. It’s a REAL JOB you are offering them. Like ‘le beta. Tune humko medal diya, uske liye ab tere liye maine naukri.com se achcha wala government job lo’
We live in a country where teachers would take our PT lecture just because they had ‘real subjects’ to teach. We live in a country where sports are considered hobbies till we become the next Sachin Tendulkar. We live in a country where if we play well in a sport, chances are someone is going to come to us and say, ‘Achche khelte ho. Cricket kheloge?’ Mera Bharat Mahan! Right? Well, wrong!
She has a job, numb nuts! If only I could really vent my frustration at the Haryana government, or every other Indian sports body for that matter, and say the cruelest things to them. You know, like maybe call them sarcoma, or an appendix, I don’t know. But this has got to be the most Donald Trump like thing I’ve seen. To be honest, it takes a sheer amount of balls to pull of this kind of crap abroad.
Imagine this. After being slammed for being the pretentious little thorn you are, and then almost getting banned from the Olympics, you manage to shove yet another finger up your <insert appropriate word>. You know what’s the worst? The public might just even fail to notice.
I’m not saying the average Indian citizen is dumb, but we’re so busy dealing with our own stuff, that this is perhaps improvement.
And there’s another sect of people who are subjected to just as much emotional and psychological torture as athletes. Women!
Women have been subjected to the worst questions you can be subjected to. Yes, I am aware that guys are bound to get their own form of pressures. But then at least it’s easy to handle people asking ‘when are you getting married’, or ‘what are you doing with your life’. Have you ever wondered how it felt being asked ‘why don’t you sit at home and learn to cook?’ or ‘Who will get married to you if you roam with guys so often?’
Yeah! That’s the kind of questions girls face quiet regularly. When they have some respite from avoiding all the ‘accidental’ hands and bodies brushing against them, they are subjected to their own subtle form of rape. Societal rape, as I would like to call it.
Combine the two, and you have our entire picture painted out for you. Women athletes! Wow… Doesn’t seem to get much worse, does it?
From sending radiologists as your CMO, to not providing water to our marathon runner, to giving the athletes drinks and peanuts for the Independence Day dinner, is basically what our current IOA is all about. For that, the entire Indian contingent should get a gold medal for bearing them.
I know there is always the age-old argument that, ‘if you want it changed, be part of the change’. Well, news flash, I DON’T WANT TO JOIN THE GOVERNMENT. I would like to change a lot of things in a lot of departments. That doesn’t mean I go and join the committees of all those things. That’s not how things work. It’s not that I don’t want my ands dirty or anything. I feel I won’t do justice at the post, and that’s why I shan’t join it.
I just wanted to say, if you’re a girl, an athlete, handicapped, retarded, dumb, mute, jailed, dead, a plant, a Magikarp, a goddamn stone, and there’s something you want. Don’t let anybody… And I mean anybody… Stop you from achieving your true happiness.
Why do I feel so strongly about this? Is that what you’re really still asking?
If she was working in a corporate job, and as a reward of outstanding performance, someone offered her the job of being a sportsperson, how awkward would you find that?
PS: I loved our athletes performance in the Olympics. Like V. Rasquinha mentioned, it’s not about the medals. What is it about, then? It’s about years, and sometimes decades, of effort and hard work for a second of success. And for this, we love every one of those who did and didn’t make it to the grand stage. To every child who gets up early morning or sleeps late so that they can make the slightest of progresses in whatever they are trying to achieve, sportsperson or not.