When a Chinese girl smashed records previously held by American blokes, typical reaction was one of incredulity. And that’s the polite way of putting it. The blunt way was — she was on steroids.
In the event, no doping has been found. But so what if she was, indeed, on some drugs? Teenage swimmers, not just in China, and indeed not just swimmers, spend years, from their childhood, in intense training. For all purposes, they have nothing like what one could call a ‘normal’ childhood and upbringing. Would steroids have done that much more damage to her?
And that’s when we are talking about teenagers. When it comes to adults like Lance Armstrong or Ben Johnson, why do we care if they took performance enhancing drugs?
It’s against the law, you say. But that just puts the question one step back? Why do we have a law against doping? If someone risks growing a third nipple or disfigured testicles to win Olympics glory, should the society care?
To compensate for the recent hiatus — caused by microcosmic organisms with evil side effects — a double edition of trashes collected by the senses. Normal ramblings should begin soon.
Last year, I posted Rumi bhai’s video of Amar Shonar Bangla sung during the opening match of the Cricket World Cup. I thought the tone-deaf singing perfectly captured the instinctive attachment with the song that most Bangladeshis feel. But quite a few thought the beautiful song was ‘mis-represented’. Thankfully, no one has taken me to the courts over this.
Just to be on the safe side, let me begin this year’s Independence Day post with a more harmonic rendition.
It is a beautiful song. Nothing I say over the fold will remotely match what you’ve just heard. So feel free to ignore the rest of the post — honestly, I won’t mind.
1. Which is cooler?
I guess the underlying political and cultural themes make certain teams / athletes lot cooler. I don’t think a documentary on the Australian cricket team under Steve Waugh, or John McEnroe, or Agassi vs Sampras, would be as cool. What about the World Cup victories by India or Pakistan?
Perhaps one could make a sports documentary about cricket replacing football as the top sport in Bangladesh over the past generation?
2. West Indies dominated the game because of their four-pronged pace attack. Of course they had fabuous batsmen too. But it was the bowlers that made that team so great. And every other team tried to bowl like the WIndies. And failed. Bouncers are terrifying when coming at 140 km an hour from a six feet four. At 120 kmph from a five feet eight, they can be easily hooked for four.
Australia dominated game under Waugh (and for a while under Ricky Ponting) through their aggressive batting. Of course they had great bowlers too. But it was the batsmen who decimated the opposition. And others tried to bat like them, and failed. Australia batted for three or four runs an over for two days. Others tried that, and got bowled out in two sessions.
Which one was better for the game?
What will happen next?
England seems to be the team to beat. South Africa is good too. Australia, while much weaker, still can beat any team on a given day. As can India. But no one is actually making a breakthrough innovation in how the game is played.
Does it matter?