I remember when England won the 1966 World Football final how their manager, Alf Ramsey, was the second main attraction after the Cup for his stoic almost indifferent reaction to the moment that was for Britain the biggest thing since winning World War 11 21 years earlier.
While all of England touched the stars at that moment of transcendence, Ramsey who was responsible for guiding his team to that celestial, epic victory, just sat where he was without even succumbing to the moment when he would have been celebrated if he had stripped naked and ran across Wembley ringing his anatomical bell in rooster-crowing testicular triumphalism.
But in the true spirit of the stiff, English upper lip behaviour, Ramsey refused to make merry and would go on to make history instead for behaving with quiet dignity and magnanimity and how in the final analysis, it was just a game and that his conduct was likely to outlive the game’s result that day. Ramsey set a template for how even in victory one should display a touch of class.
English football has become notorious for its hooliganism, of clubs taking the game back to the times of gladiators when club had a different connotation, when it was used as a weapon of war. Cricket, however, had for ages been called the gentleman’s game which insinuated that the hooligan way had no place in it.
And while most cricket teams across the world still seem to observe that gentleman’s code of conduct, while Sachin scored a hundred centuries and at all times just raised his bat in quiet acknowledgement of the applause he was receiving on reaching his milestone, here in the West Indies – especially in Trinidad – it has become a carnival, song and dance moment when milestones are reached, when a simple catch is taken.
Wining as if its dance off and not a game of cricket, roaring at the top of one’s lungs as if one had just scaled Mt. Everest is too tacky, too unbecoming for a cricketer who is yet to have the world revolve around his little finger.
The cricket board hires lots of auxiliary staff to make ready the cricketers but has it considered that in addition to batting and bowling the image of the team is an important factor as they represent the people of the West Indies. Should we continue to give the impression that we still swing in hammocks from trees and scream like Tarzans whenever we achieve a hallelujah moment?
L. Siddhartha Orie