Pakistan Hockey: A Nice Victory And An Ugly Celebration!
Yup! It is all over the news! Pakistan won a hockey match against India and naturally any Pakistan fan should feel good about it. But what was not so good about it was the post victory celebrations. It is very natural for a sportsman to get carried away in a victory. The first shirt removing incident I remember is of Ganguly when India won the Natwest series. However that was a response to a similar gesture by Flintoff when England had won a match against India. Although it was a tit for tat incident, I am sure that it was nothing in comparison to the gesture that happened a day ago.
It was a comprehensive victory and any sportsman would appreciate that. And considering that it is a match between India and Pakistan, I can imagine that the pressures and the tensions soar high. But at the same time, we all know that the game is above an individual, above the cultural or historical differences between two countries and above all – It is a game for the sake of the game.
The post victory dance by the Paksitani team might have been a little forgivable but that combined with baring of there chests and pointing the middle finger towards the spectators while the Indian team at the other end looked at them shocked to see what was actually going on. It will be an understatement to say that the winning team got carried away. I don’t think there have been recurrent incidents of a winning team showing their middle finger, esp to the spectators – the very spectators who make the game run, the very spectators who support the game. If I were at the watching end of this gruesome dance or the actions, I would either consider quitting watching a match altogether or hurl something at the person with the disrespectful behavior. It is a wonder that the entire team got away without any assault from the spectators.
Y0u can see a slide show of the footage of these gestures below:
After watching this, I am out of words to condemn this behavior. The board was right in expecting an apology and the world hockey body has taken notice and the next step in suspending two of the hockey players – Amjad Ali and Mohammad Tousiq who were found guilty of making obscene gestures at the spectators.
There are a lot of issues this raises and a lot more important questions as well
1) A game is a game of passion, but each player does come with a responsibility since he is representing his own nation at the highest level, on an international stage with the world federation watching.
2) Even though we all get excited by a victory, there is no excuse to try and make your opponent feel bad. There is something about accepting victory in grace. The behavior very clearly showed how farfetched the whole idea of grace was.
3) What is the point in trying to push away the very spectators the game depends on. Looking at this from the point of view of the world hockey federation, the impact the game has on the spectators is a lot more valuable than a team which has lost touch with its code of conduct. And it would not be too big a surprise if the entire team is banned from participating or forced to walk away from the series owing to their poor behavior.
4) Forget humanity, if I talk about why this was wrong, I am sure that there will a lot of people who can talk about instances where Indian sportsmen let the sports down. That is beside the point here. It is not about blaming a country, it is about blaming the sportsmen, not the country.
5) It is high time that we looked at the game as just a game and nothing more or nothing less. We are absolutely fed up of the political issues brimming from a match – whether it is cricket or hockey or even boxing. We don’t care what the sport is – we are very simple people here who watch the game and support the game since we feel passionate about it.
Ignore the viewer only at the peril of losing them. There is no way a game can survive with a bunch of unruly players. It is perhaps beyond our scope here to discuss what the board could have done, but I am sure that sufficient action must be taken lest the spectators start boycotting the game.
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