Since July 25, a day hasn’t passed by with out somebody eulogising Talha Talib for coming that far or cursing the darned ‘system’ for ignoring our track-and-field athletes.
Talha Talib’s title has been entrance and centre all over the place and everybody desires a chunk of him. Talib, which accurately means seeker, is himself the sought-after (oh the irony!). This Talib overload additionally implies that in all probability every part that might have been mentioned about his Cinderella story or the system’s deficiency has already been mentioned. Full disclosure: I might have added nothing new to these two factors even when I attempted as a result of the useless horse has taken such a flogging already.
Additionally full disclosure: I’ve by no means lifted a dumbbell, not to mention an Olympic-style barbell laden with again crushing weights on both facet. With nothing new so as to add and no athletic expertise in any way, right here I nonetheless am about to contribute my two cents to the talk. However then once more I’m not so dissimilar to the anchors who’ve interviewed this man or journalists who’ve devoted column inches to him however particularly political analysts who wished to make use of Talib’s instance to validate their theories both about Pakistan’s undiscovered expertise or the federal government’s failings.
A lot has been mentioned about a lot, but nothing’s been mentioned about one a part of all the equation: you and me.
Most of the people or the informal sports activities followers stroll scot-free previous Talib with the identical insouciance we had demonstrated when wrestler Inam Butt had his day within the solar, pointing fingers in each which approach simply as we had throughout hockey’s freefall to all-time low, and pretending to be faultless after we see that the boys’s tennis rating has no Pakistani participant in its high 40.
We really feel smug within the data that our conscience is clear, as a result of if we’re at nadir in nearly each sports activities, it’s definitely not as a consequence of any fault of ours. Blame the athletes, federations, officers, the ‘system’ or something beneath the solar however not us.
Right here is a few perspective for such casuals.
We now have no proper to chortle at any athlete that fails as a result of we’ve by no means proven curiosity in something however cricket for a cool minute.
Someplace down the highway we stopped caring for something that was not our favorite bat-and-ball sport. You may argue that the outcomes dropped first and public curiosity plummeted later however that’d be akin to the chicken-and-egg head scratcher. Level being that in Pakistan every part aside from cricket has turn into a distinct segment sport that solely a small group of diehards follows and even know the principles of.
When fan curiosity dries up or is nonexistent to start with, it additionally shrinks a sport’s attain, which in flip makes sponsors reluctant to contribute and the entire ecosystem goes stomach up.
Granted that there are greater issues in play right here and the blame apportioned to us, the followers, is small in comparison with the same old tomfoolery by our sports activities our bodies throughout however we can’t act as if we’re additionally not enablers of this cricket-or-nothing tradition.
Most nations’ sports activities bases have, on the very least, a pair disciplines they’re fascinated with however a typical Pakistan sports activities fan solely has eyes for cricket. The subsequent most sizable fan base loves their soccer however not native one however the one which comes out of Europe. One can level to the state of home soccer to argue why anybody would help it however then even when all was comparatively okay, followers of European soccer in Pakistan rarely took discover.
The one time we take our eyes off our cricketers or resolve to offer their menial issues a break is when some lone wolf a la Talha Talib or Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi or Ahmed Mujtaba take issues in their very own fingers and do one thing so extraordinary that it makes nationwide information. However that’s just for a second. As quickly because the cricket superstars go about on their ‘super competitive’ excursions of Zimbabwe and ‘super exciting’ residence sequence towards Sri Lanka, the main target shifts again.
In reality, our single-sport obsession has given a lot energy and affect to the cricketers that they now appear to deflect it away or use it for another person’s profit. A working example was when Shadab Khan pledged to arrange a fund for Talib.
All of this goes to show our complicity, albeit restricted, on this systematic sluggish poisoning of all sports activities not named cricket. So the subsequent time we really feel like laughing on the hockey workforce for not even qualifying for the Olympics and sprinter Najma Parveen for coming final in 200m warmth, let’s additionally chortle a bit of at ourselves.