Born in 1987, with a childhood in Kerala, I remember spending more time outdoors with friends. Moving to Hyderabad at the age of Ten, would bring me closer to computers and a different indoor life. As one of those famous 90’s Indian kids who had simple fun away from computers before he too got consumed into the matrix, I have always wondered about how the common activities in our life affects all of us.
Italian Football kids vs Indian Cricket kids
While Italian kids grow up playing Football, Indian kids (back in my time) grew up playing more Cricket. This trend is changing in urban India with more Indian kids shifting to football. When it comes to sports media, Indian kids are into everything these days. Growing up, I have always been surrounded by English Premier League fans discussing about football games happening all across the world. In Italy, you do have loads of such NBA fans but most other Italians are primarily into regional football.
Many have a weekly pass to the local football stadium. Its a regular Sunday activity.
Most Indian kids back from my time played Cricket. We played Cricket on roads and made any surface into a cricket pitch. Any 90’s Indian kid can catch a fast approaching flying object with ease. Maybe that is what made us an opportunistic generation.
All work no play makes Jack a dull boy
Not anymore, as I am sure most kids are too much into their smart phones, tablets and computers. Sports is virtual and the only muscles training are little wrists. Hope Indian parenting and schools organize to ensure enough physical activity for children. Although, Gaming is not such a bad idea. It helps immensely in educating kids on persistence and skill development.
Online gaming lets you play with anyone around the world. Presently, you can compete with the best opponents from across the world. Gaming does seem to offer an interesting challenge in pushing a kid to strategies better.
What did kids do before there were computers? We played sports quite a lot, almost every evening. Life was quite fun back then, even when we had a dial up modem and limited movies to watch. Evening Cricket on our residential roads or weekend football at the Osmania University grounds, life was fun for the 90’s kid.
Riding a bicycle exploring the terrain not to be disturbed by traffic and pollution. To find a nice river with clean water or trees with life.
Food for thought on Sports and development
Every country has its own path to development. What is development if not for collective human actions leading to economic gains. If some of the most important challenges in a country can be simulated in a physical game played by everyone, how much would it benefit in teaching useful skills, state propaganda, discipline, math, strategy and what not.
Not any longer though as kids are learning teamwork from video games sitting their lazy ass at home all day, just like me when I work on my website too much. But honestly, there is a lot you can learn from games like Age of Empires or even Online Chess. A good mix of outdoor sports and Indoor gaming is recommended in every kids life.
Friends are important. Outdoor sports is the best way you can actually “hang out” with your friends. Playstation is nothing in comparison to a nice outdoor game of cricket or football.
What can we learn playing Cricket?
The real Cricket played with the real ball and street Cricket teach you different things.
A bunch of privileged kids bring expensive cricket equipment to the school playground and decide on playing a game of Cricket. The only catch is, these guys want to do all the fun part of the game, that is the Batting and the Bowling, while the other kids who get to play spend most of their time in the fielding positions. This they ensure by practicing more to be better. Those who own the equipment usually believe that they have gained a lot of practice, but they still need others people to play with them in this controlled familiar environment. Just like how the British Officers played the Indians in Lagaan a movie based on a fictional story of India’s colonial past. That scene where the British lady is singing a song for Aamir Khan was just too hilarious to watch.
Dissecting the game of Cricket
What we have here is the privileged challenging the others to a game requiring team work, strength, practice, knowledge of the rules, patience, stamina and what not. Based on my extensive experience playing Cricket, I have to tell you that there is nothing like going to bat after eating some good Hyderabadi mutton Biryani. Now I know why Azhar is such a great batsmen and why Salman Butt married Sania Mirza.
Exactly, if you eat good you can remain alert for a long game. Unlike in Football which is a 90 minutes game, based extensively on the ability to keep running, Cricket is for the well fed Gentleman at the crease and the poor starving kid fielding in the boundary.
None the less, there is uncertainty in Cricket and as a batsman it rewards the assertive. Too careful and you may not score enough, and too confident and comfortable you will risk getting out quickly. People get out and your turn to bat will come. But with a shit load of pressure to compensate for all the problems created by the previous batsmen, mostly by this one kid who owns the bat and always insists on batting first. I may have been such a kid for a part of my life, mainly because everyone else wanted to bowl first and I gave up on that privilege to bat first. Not like some douche bags who want to bat and bowl first. Those guys suck and never play good in the game.
Dynamic personalities in a Cricket team
Nothing like it to build great team work in Cricket. There is place for absolutely every character in the team. If you are a hot tempered person, you can try to fast bowl but not bat.
Even if you start to fast bowl, you need loads of practice and discipline to get it right. In a way you try to channel the hot temper in throwing the ball really fast at the wickets.
If you bat otherwise, you need to have control of your emotions. You need to be patient and only smile when you take the game away or have scored a nice century. Batting is for the patient, well fed person who is determined to stay long to build something big. Some one reliable and dependable for the long haul. Even in T20, you really dont want to risk that wicket too early.
Meet the Spinner: Trump card in Cricket
Next comes the spinner, the trickster. Mostly lazy batsmen like me would try a hand in spinning. Sometimes I did really well and got some nice wickets when i had mastered both leg and off spin really well, while some other times out of practice, I have been trashed all over. To be a great spinner, you should try to make sure that the ball touches the ground just before the reach of the batsman, not too early and not too late. Difficult said then done.
When you step to bat, for that moment you are on the grease, you are the star and have all eyes on you.
How do you handle all this attention and play it out in a cool manner doing your part for the team is what batting finally is. The other half of the game would have you standing along with your fellow team mates hoping to catch a flying ball in the hot sun. Playing cricket is great practice for developing coordination. A team of men have never conspired better to trick a person in a game since Kabbadi. Blog on Kabbadi will come soon.
Stay tuned, you may want to subscribe to this blog after all.
What do you learn from Cricket?
How to deal with the bunch of above dangerous characters I mentioned. As a batsmen, a bowler or a fielder, you need to be alert, have a plan, learn to work with people, build partnerships, conspire against new people entering one by one (just like how you would need to do at your work place to protect it from new interns and AI, just kidding!),
What can you learn playing Football in India?
Here is a game not well played in India, but at least we play it with a real football, with or without enough air is a different matter. Having played Cricket mostly with a rubber ball instead of the real cork one, my entire Cricket childhood seems like a lie.
Football is a fun game as you are not punished big like in Cricket with a wicket. The risk is lower as the goals are few. Metrics become things like who high I kicked the ball, though technically it does not have any actual effect on the output of scoring a goal.
In foot ball, there is only one ball and if you want it, you better run for it. Some how, Foot Ball seems like a more interactive game allowing more opportunities of actively playing the game without much constraint of team politics. Considering that a ball remains in possession for a limited time, I would cherish the moments I had the ball. Giving it your best shot for a period of 90 minutes to achieve goals that are usually in the lower single digits, actually makes you feel really good.
So basically you are working in a team, running around together, releasing your happy hormones or the “Runners High” . Exercise gets covered and you do have a whole list of strategies you work on also in Football. But, you really dont start doing higher math and averages like required runs per over etc as you usually do in Cricket.
So What does Football teach you?
Like everyone. Your teammates help your team to score goals, the opponents try to challenge you in ball possession. There is nothing like taking the ball away from a skinny little kid in the opposition. Even better, taking it away from their star player.
I loved Football as I would always run between the ball and the goal to intercept it and score myself. Still remembering those nice goals from school and later all the way to IIT. Yes, I didnt play for teams as I had not started training then, but this one day at NSO hour, there were supposedly some good players that day, but I still ended up scoring 2 goals in a jiffy, I have to admit, I had a little Football prodigy hiding inside me since childhood. Dribbled a little, but could really hit that ball inside the goal post really well. Bi Cycle kick, Back side kick, or also the swinging kick, I really loved to kick.
Hmmm…did it come from the third sport I played for most of my childhood?
Training for tennis everyday for 2-3 hours in the evening, I ended up running a lot. 20 rounds around the tennis court as warm up. Kicking that little tennis ball, especially when it went old was a common past time. What else did I kick as a young kid?
Indoor football with walls is the best
Yes, In School at Bhawans! We kicked a little tennis ball while playing indoor football in the top most floor before the morning school assembly. Was that a tennis ball or some other object, i really dont recollect, but I do recollect that playing a no rules football game indoors with walls was one of the most fun things to do since air hockey.
Football makes you run. Running keeps you happy and thus makes you appreciate teamwork and friendship and everything else much more. I have to admit, i cherish all those football game moments from Childhood, as every one seemed to go back home a happier person.
Liberal part time Blogger and full time Researcher with a broad range of experience, professionally and personally in Austria, Italy, UAE & India. Loves Finance, Business & Technology. Cares about society.