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Salvation, thy name is cricket!

“Football, wherein is nothing but beastly fury, and extreme violence, whereof proceedeth hurt, and consequently rancour and malice do remain with them that be wounded.”

Thomas Elyot Book of the Governor (1531)
After you good people have finished looking up 'rancour' in the dictionary and wondering where one of your trusted authors for this piece got hold of such an ancient manuscript, do we delve into the depth of the wickedness of the sport where 22 people kick around a leather-bound sphere WITH THEIR FEET and a central priest ignores when someone scores a point (goal) by kicking WITH THEIR HANDS. We are talking about football of course, alternately known as “Soccer” for some obscure reasons.

Why football? Really, why, when there is a perfect game called cricket (not to be confused with the bug)? We know what the ignorant ones are thinking: It's boring. But how can something that is “boring” have survived for over two hundred years? Every day, new teams like Afghanistan and Ireland are joining world cricket. The many forms of the game are further a testament to its popularity. Whether it is Test, one-day or T-20, there is cricket for everyone.

Look, cricket is a game for gentlemen, and ladies. It is a game of dignity. You don't find people playing cricket while wearing those unsightly shorts. It is not a brawl either. Just think about it: 22 people, after a solitary ball, kicking each other (and sometimes the ball). Admit it: football is a mess. We have never had any incidents where someone head-butted an opposing player either.

And there is the factor of time span. A five-day game is a perfect representation of the human life. There are ups, there are downs; there is pain and there is hope. You learn the most vital lesson in life: to have patience. It doesn't matter whether you are playing the game yourself or just enjoying it on the television or in the gallery; you will learn patience. In fact, the very qualities that go into making a good human being go into making a good cricketer. Dear me! Those were philosophical! (Note to self: never try philosophy)

Cricket brings together people from all over the world. Sure, football does that too, but that's in a very different way. Who doesn't know about ugly riots at football games? What kind of game breeds hostility and violence towards fellow human beings? Football does. And it doesn't just end with a few punches, either. In 1969, the results of the qualifying round of the FIFA World Cup caused tensions to escalate between Honduras and El Salvador. It eventually turned into a full-blown war. In just four days, 300,000 Salvadorans were displaced, trade between the two countries was disrupted and the international border was closed. And all because of a FOOTBALL match.

Cricket, on the other hand, is a harbinger of peace. When Sri Lanka reached the semi-finals in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, a ceasefire was called between the government and LTTE militants in Sri Lanka for the duration of the match. Such is the power of cricket. Another ceasefire was called when they played Australia in the Finals. So when football goes around starting wars, cricket helps stop wars that had nothing to do with it in the first place.

Remember people, remember: our World Cup starts next year in February, here in Bangladesh. We are concluding this with another quote from Mr. Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, “Cricket civilises people and creates good gentleman. I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen.” And ladies.

By Jawad and TheAlien4mEarth
Reference- Wikipedia

To Kick a Ball

Football. A sport that can unite a whole continent, raise the hopes of people from all walks of life and give them the voice to scream and cheer their side on until they are hoarse. This is the beautiful game, which can shatter the dreams of a million people, but without losing its beauty in the process.

The football World Cup is the biggest football event in the world. Some even claim it's the largest sporting event in the world. Not without reason. What else can you call the largest sporting event? The Cricket World Cup? IPL? Olympics? I don't think so. For starters, having a World Cup for a sport that only 11 nations know how to play is a joke. I don't mind watching ODI cricket or even the interesting test matches, but if someone told me the cricket and football World Cups were running parallel, guess what I'd be watching? And IPL is not a sporting event; it's a way for the filthy rich to get even richer by exploiting the media and the masses. No one below the age of 40 watches Olympics, despite the size of the tournament. The fact remains, then, that football is the single most viewed sport in the world, with the World Cup being the largest such event.

The reason why football appeals to so many is because it is a sport that does not recognise class division. Football was a peasant's sport, and in England, football's spiritual birthplace, the upper classes looked down on those who played the sport. Cricket was the noble sport. Played and watched primarily by the high society group, it wasn't until the mid-20th century that cricket finally became mainstream through India, which is why the Indian subcontinent never really measured up to world standards in football, focusing instead on cricket.

Football is a contact sport that appeals to the animal instincts and raw emotions of the fans. Not a single seat is left empty during a World Cup match. It makes us all feel like heroes once the game is won. Some “civilised” people say football is “too violent”. That's because football Connects. Defending the team we support is an honour that we do not take lightly. It may lead to cursing and fist fights, but it will not be resolved until we get our points through or someone gives up. It's part of the football experience.

Cricket lovers will whine about how Bangladeshis make a huge fuss about the World Cup when Bangladesh is nowhere near to even reaching the qualifying stage for the tournament. They probably won't play in the next 20 years either. We'd like to say to those people: doesn't the same thing happen for India-Pakistan matches? The country is now divided between Argentina and Brazil, and people will go to any lengths to declare their team the next champions. At least in this battle, no one will be waving a Pakistani flag, for fear of getting shot. Feelings of animosity tend to stay raw after only 39 years of independence.

Bottom line, cricket is fun to play and watch occasionally, but compared to football, it sucks. Saying more will be a waste of time, because we know which sport is more favoured among the teenagers. And since teenagers make up more than half the population, football wins every time.

By Shaer Duita Fish Reaz and Alvi Ahemd

Book Review

The Undomestic Goddess

Whether you're chasing deadlines, cramming for exams, or running around doing all the paperwork for your visa application, this much is true: city life has a way of turning you into a slave to the clock. Be it traffic jams stretching your commute time, or power-cuts limiting the amount of hours you get Internet to work on, life has become a race. So what happens if you suddenly decide to stop running?

Samantha Sweeting, a smart, successful, and highly stressed-out young attorney, has that decision taken out of her hands in Sophie Kinsella's 'The Undomestic Goddess”. Samantha, math genius and legal eagle in a family of well-known lawyers, eats, breathes and lives work at a high-profile law firm. This of course, leaves her no time for real life, and such unimportant issues such as domestic skills. When a simple filing error loses the company millions, her dreams of making partner are shattered as she is not only disqualified for the post, but fired from her job. In a daze, she walks out of her office and starts wandering around aimlessly, until she finds herself in the middle of the countryside. Stepping into the nearest house to try and make a phone call, she is mistaken for an applicant for the post of a housekeeper, and the home-owners decide to hire her. Figuring that she needs to lay low until the bad press dies down, she accepts. There's only one catch: she doesn't know the first thing about housework.

Hilarity ensues as Samantha delegates her grey cells towards keeping her employers fooled, while she tries, belatedly, to learn how to cook, clean, and most importantly, to relax. When she befriends the hunky gardener Nathaniel, and his wise and talented mother, things become at once easier, and she starts to fall in love with more than just her new life. Since good things never last, her old life comes calling, and Samantha is forced to choose: stay or go? To find out, read the book!

Sophie Kinsella, already well-known for her humour and comic timing, surprises readers of the popular 'Shopaholic' series with an intelligent and resourceful protagonist. She reverses her 'ditzy girl gets the handsome hotshot' formula, which might require one to suspend disbelief, and also tick off the staunch feminist, but the real message of the book may well be 'Relax! Life is beautiful'. Either way, this is a fluffy, feel good read, and perfect to unwind with after a month of exams.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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