I’m worried for Yuvraj Singh, today, after all the harsh criticism from primarily Indian fans about how he played in the World T20 cricket final. To my eyes, he seemed to be thinking too much, caught up by how he thought he should be playing, and unable to be in the moment and use his instincts.
It’s hard for anyone to watch a person stuck in a moment of panic, I think. One feels the painful uncertainty, the longing to get it right and the fears of the consequences of getting it wrong. From the comfort of my chair in my home, thousands of miles away from the glare of public scrutiny, I, too, was wishing he would hit out or get out.
That was my feeling at the time, and I’m entitled to it. But I am not entitled to go to his house and throw stones, as I understand some fans have done. To incur such intense enmity does not seem to me to be sportsmanlike, and I wonder why spectators should feel that intensely.
After returning from a visit to Scotland, my boss told me of a friend of a friend’s suicide after the football team he was supporting had failed and again, I was stunned at the intensity of the reaction from a non-player in the contest.
Perhaps it’s that we relive our early memories of the first time we are tested and the outcome was not what we wanted. Perhaps we executed our skills well but even so, the other person won the prize. Perhaps this was the first time we faced injustice, the first time that circumstances outside ourselves takes precedence.
Learning to live in a world that one had believed was fair and now is shown to be sometimes unfair may be a painful process that never quite heals.