Dear Indian sports lover, here’s why you should reset your expectation bar

Freedom of speech exists on both sides of the fence, and if you are ready to rub it in, you should be ready to take it as well.

Written by Shantanu Datta | Published:August 19, 2016 6:12 pm
shobhaa de main Freedom of speech exists on both sides of the fence, and if you are ready to rub it in, you should be ready to take it as well.

Sentimental claptrap apart, what is going on in the name of smart Alecky one-lineism is a vicious trolling of Shobhaa De.

Agreed, freedom of speech exists on both sides of the fence, and if you are ready to rub it in, you should be ready to take it as well. Goes for Shobhaa De. Valid for everyone else. But freedom of speech also means comprehending what the person said, and then striking back. Not random hitting back to score a point.

“Rio jao, selfies lo khali haath wapis aao”, as she tweeted, doesn’t mean literally zero medals. It means a below-par performance. It means failure to raise the bar in four years when nearly everyone around you has done that. It means playing to win.

Yes, the facilities/infrastructure/support is bad in India. But has it become worse between 2012 & 2016? I don’t think so, but I’m ready to be corrected.

And, is the infrastructure terrific in some of the African, Asian countries that win medals as if it’s par for the course? I don’t claim to know. Somebody has to tell me the status, and I’ll apologise for this post.

Six medals in 2012 versus 2/3 in 2016 do not fulfil any of these.

So, 1: What is the point of rebuttal to De with news/images of medal winners?

2: Does it mean De would have been correct had these two (or three) medals not come? (If the answer is yes, then one is no better than what one is accusing De of: allegedly not realising what it means to be a sports person.)

3. De stuck to her tweet in a follow-up, I believe. She said selfies lo is valid more so for the management types accompanying the contingent. So little point one will make it believing that De would hide her face in shame.

4. Will you show your love for Indian sports and sportsmen by slamming De for mock-critiquing lack of performance (on day four of the fortnight-long event) with your own self-deluding demigod-worshipping one-liners or by setting your expectation bar high?

PS: I don’t believe in the argument that one should not be critical of a sportsperson just because one is not a sportsperson. That is the most anti-democraitic contention. It robs you of the right to critique everyone by that logic.

It’s like saying you can’t criticise politicians or bureaucrats because you are not one, and you have no clue what it takes to be one. Or, better still, that you can’t criticise Shobhaa De because you have no idea what it takes to be a columnist or a best-seller writer.

PS 2: I write this barely a couple of hours before PV Sindhu plays the badminton final, and I am no “anti-national”, seditious character and will, despite what you may think from the above lines, root for her.

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