Udai watches the Olympics coverage for a short while every single day, he alogisde my grandmum they make an endearing sight! He is fascinated by the wide array of sporting disciplines he is discovering for the very first time. In the nation obsessed with cricket, we are still restricted to a few sports even from the spectatorship point of view. Tennis, golf, football pretty much does it beyond cricket.
I have caught glimpses of the Olympics as well. My favorites have always been gymnastics, diving, swimming and track events. The rest of it is by the way and I cannot really sit through a game of badminton or hockey if its on the telly.
In that sense, I think I have become jaded as I age. As a child, I watched sports or anything new in fact with total fascination. There were lots of questions and I remember my dad answering many queries about how scoring is done, why specific countries are so good at something (Gymnasts came from the USSR in our time. Period.) and others are not. Why this, how that..it went on. And many of the kids and adults around me were involved in the spectacle of the Olympics (or other similar sporting events) despite getting restricted coverage on Doordarshan!
Today, we live in a medal tally culture. I find Indians are interested only in the sports where we might stand a chance for a medal, no matter how slim the chance is- shooting, badminton, wrestling, boxing, tennis, hockey..that’s it. Considering how slim the chances are, it would probably make more sense to enjoy the Olympics for the spirit of good sport, as a way to celebrate what human bodies and minds can achieve- impossible speed, incredibly flexibility, wonderful grace, immense strength and the attributes of discipline, focus and utter dedication that a sportsperson must have.
Udai and me spoke about this and I feel bad that I missed this opportunity to follow the Olympics in detail. To search for new role models, to get inspired, to wonder, smile and learn together. I was too caught up in my life, else I could have given my child and myself a special experience. Maybe its not too late to ask him about what he thinks when he watches the Olympics everyday. Maybe its not too late for me to learn, through him.