Games we play

If you're not living under the rock, you would have heard about the recent mini mutiny in the world of Indian Tennis. The arguing parties were Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, All India Tennis Association - AITA (the governing body of sport in India), their fathers, neighbours, media, relatives and a lot of people on the sidelines.

For the sake of this piece, here is a small recap. the AITA is supposed to send names of the teams to the Olympics organizing committee. Since the AITA wants to maximize the chances of a medal. they decide to send Paes and Bhupathi as a team. For reasons known to Bhupathi alone, he refuses to partner with Paes. AITA then asks Rohan Bopanna to partner with Paes. Even he refuses to partner with Paes. Apparently both Bhupathi and Bopanna play with each other regularly and are of the opinion that since they have practised together, its only fair that they goto Olympics with each other. And rest, as they say, is history. India Today has an interesting timeline, along with pictures of this.

So, all said and done, the sport and the incident got more than the fair share of airtime. It was even "breaking news" for more than 2 days on most entertainment news channels on TV. And in the furore, everyone forgot a few very important things. Let me try to create a list here. 

First. The entire idea of the Olympics Games is about sports and sportsmen spirit. Sports and games are meant to advance solidarity between the participating nations and athletes. This time, they estimate that more than 200 countries are sending thousands of athletes to participate in the games.All those athletes have earned the right to represent their respective countries in the games. Most of these had to work hard, very hard for this honour. And its a shame that our tennis stars take the participation with so much frivolousness and they use words like boycott etc to talk about it. 

Second. The games are not about individuals. Its about individuals representing their countries and trying to and bring glory to their countries. Something that Sania Mirza got spot on in her letter. Wish the senior players from the country had that kind of common sense. Its not about fighting over petty issues and the idiotic royalties from brand endorsements. Its about, for once, burying the hatchet and trying to get some gold back to the country.

Third. The people in question are the highest ranked tennis players in the country. Their every action, every move, is observed by a battery of youngsters who hope to emulate the feats of these greats. With these players involved in such bickering, imagine the kind of legacy that these players are leaving behind. Guess what would the youngsters learn about the game? More importantly, what would the youngsters learn about life? 

And guess thats about it. Unlike most arguments where the loudest mouth tends to be the winner, in this one, the winner is sadly, nobody. And the list of losers, unfortunately is mile long. And it includes, all the players, the Olympic Games, the AITA, our country, the future generations and the hope. And yes, it includes you and I.

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