FIFA fever and India

I LOVE FOOTBALL!!!

http://fifa2014wc.com/

Okay, I had to get it out before I could start with my rant :p... I know it has been ages since world cup took place, and I am sincerely apologize for my delay, however, I believe that if you like something, you don't really require a specific time to talk or write about it at all...


2014 has been a marvelously incredible year for me for most part of it... I got to travel to MANY new places including 5 different countries: Dominican Republic, USA, Scotland ("cough"), France and Netherlands. I got to visit many a wonderful places in UK too such as Glasgow, Cambridge, Mayfield lavender farm, Farrington Gurney's tulip farm, etc. Started this blog (woohoo!) and shared a lot of fun things with you guys... But most importantly, FIFA world cup 2014 took place this summer. And I guess by the looks of it, it has been a fabulous year for Germany and the germans too!


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2697056/Philipp-Lahm-retires-international-football-Germany-win-World-Cup-2014.html

It is always such a thrill to watch football... Thrills like skipping a heartbeat when the players almost score a goal and miss, burst into a unison of uproar when your team scores, and then jump up with joy when they win... Truely, I LIVE for that feeling... And this year too it has been equally exciting. I have always given my first priority to Brazil, then Germany. So, this year when Brazil was out, much to my grief, I rooted for the next best favourite, Germany. And boy was I glad when they won! Although, this year I was also quite impressed by the performance of the likes of Argentina, USA, Ghana, and Netherlands.

Anyway, coming to football history in India, well it is no secret that Indians predominantly excel in one and only sport: cricket, without leaving much room for any other sports to thrive as well as the gentlemen's sport. It is only now that India is very slowly embracing the sport, what with all the Indian Super League (ISL) going on at the moment. They are indeed slowly but surely catching up with the trend. And now, football is infact the 2nd most popular game in India. However, the topsy-turvy relationship between India and footballs dates way back to pre-indepenence. As a matter of fact India actually made it through to 1950 FIFA world cup selection. But as glamorous as it may sound, the truth is not that pretty. Firstly, the only reason it did get into the world cup roster is because all the other Asian teams that were ahead of India withdrew. So, it was more of an automatic selected to play by default. Secondly, India was the only country that was later refused entry into the world cup, all because our government was too cheap to afford the cost of travel, giving excuse of lack of practice time, team selection issues, and the worst of them all - refusal to wear boots and rather play barefoot! Well... I don't know what to think of that or say. True that India had just only gotten its Independence from the long and cataclysmic British rule, and was still struggling to a colossal extent with finances and development after all the losses incurred and damages done for decades to almost a century... Well, what's done is done...

Anyway, I have been a football fan since I could walk. Most probably becasue of the strong love for football in my family. My dad was a defender in his prime time for his college team, and so, it's no wonder he holds it so dear to his heart. But it is not just him who shares the passion for this exhilerating game. As a matter of fact, the young boys from my tribe, and many North east Indian states are especially known for their sturdy built and strong legs that make them one of the finest footballers in the country.

I am happy indeed that football mania is finally catching up in India. But, at the same time it kind of saddens me that our culture is not often supportive of diversities, be it in sports, culture, gender equality, or just an individual mindset. Like I mentioned, Cricket has been a MAJOR sport in India, and Indians have made their own global space in it world wide, but what about ALL the other sports? We have the 2nd highest population in the world, and yet when it comes to International contests such as Olympics, the Football world cup, etc. we just never seem to find anyone...? It's not the fact that people don't try, it's the fact that culturally they do not feel obligated or even motivated to try, the resources are never enough, the trainings are not well organized, or whatever the excuses may be… 

In most Indian societies and communities (however not all), a child is made to study day in and day out with very little encouragement for anything else. For boys, it is mostly either study and get straight A's so that they can get good jobs and secure their fututre, or just concentrate completely on sports and forget about the studies. Why can't they do both? Why are they not allowed to choose? Why can't there be a balance???? For girls, it was learning every set of skills necessary just to make a good house-wife and please the in-laws. They were expected to learn something more homely and feminine like sewing, reading or art. However, (and thank goodness for that) it has significantly changed since the 50s... Nowadays, in most modern societies, they are expected to be able to stand on their own two feet. BUT, (and it's a big ass but) sports is still not an option for either in case they want a solid career. It may be good enough in a society yearning to develop technologically and as far as the education is concerned, but globally we clearly fall behind quite a bit. And even after the children cross that stage, grow up, get jobs, become succesful, they continue living a very dictated lifestyle, exactly how their folks lived, and pretty much how their future generations would too.

And not just sports, even body conditioning, excercise routine, working-out and trainings are not exactly a trend followed by most  youths of the nation, male and female alike, when compared to their western equivalents. Then how can they expect to have a progress in their personal development? Well, obviously there isn't going to be a drastic change anytime soon, but I can only hope the trend in changing, albeit very slowly.

Here's to hoping a bright future for sportsmen in India, here's to the brighter future of football in India....

Love always,

JB