Wasn't the World Cup over, like what, six months ago? What are those self-proclaimed blue-bloods doing still strutting around in their jerseys? As if watching India win the Cup wasn't bad enough, the IPL starts barely a week after. Still reeling from an overdose of Indian cricket, they decide to bring us the Champions' League. Oh, goodie, more airtime for Dhoni and his favourite brand of fairness cream. *barf*
If you think that we're just being sore losers, then think again. Even in India, the stadiums are barely filling up, despite the presence of big-name stars like Shahrukh Khan. The players themselves are not in good shape. Many have been playing at a stretch for quite a while now, and injuries really don't help. And to top it all off, title sponsor Airtel has pulled out of a 5-year deal, leaving Nokia to take its place.
As good as T20 may sound, with a jam-packed international schedule, no one is really in the mood for more cricket. If there ever was a bad time to play the game, this is it. But the show must go on, whatever happens. So this is what it eventually boils down to:
The tournament was originally supposed to feature ten teams, but the inclusion of a preliminary group stage means that the Kolkata Knight Riders got to sneak past. (Hey, KKR sells, you can't blame them for trying to do business). This is despite the fact that the other three teams from the qualifying rounds were all champions in their respective domestic circuits… and the best that Kolkata could come up with in four seasons was a fourth-place finish.
But we won't really complain. After all, it gives us a chance to cheer for our man Shakib Al Hasan. Right now, he's lying low, doing his job, but nothing more than that. The recent changes at home seem to have affected his game, but we hope we won't have to wait too long before he brings on the fireworks.
Kolkata's not the only darling in the Champions' League, though. They've also tweaked the rules for the Mumbai Indians, who are now allowed to have five foreign players instead of the usual four. This is because of the apparent lack of choice due to the blizzard of injuries that have been happening.
Speaking of foreign players, the Champions' League is yet another arena where we see players choosing club over country. Their domestic clubs can't hold on to them simply because their IPL teams offer a better contract. Don't be surprised if the top four teams all turn out to be Indians.
And so, from the World Cup till now, it has been one long slog that everyone can't wait to see the end of. Even then, the League has its followers. Victim of habit, you might call them. As for the rest of us, there are always the fairness cream ads to fall back on when the cricket itself fails to entertain.
Last week our topic was Airports. Some very good entries turned, but the story below was abstractly awesome. For next week our topic will be Power. Submissions have to be sent into firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday noon. Word limit, 500 words. Good luck!
The Take Off
By Jonayed Nasir Anik
He was walking. No, not actually walking. Limping, you could say. Fast. Frantically. He had to reach there before the deadline. He didn't have time to spare, didn't have time even for the occasional "Ouch"s or "Ooh"s. All he had in mind was his destination that he had to reach, and the time that was simply going by, running out.
What was that?
Never allow anyone to sleep on the tracks. He remembered the officer saying.
He turned, and walked toward the boy, expecting to see a face full of innocence, probably smiling while having a sweet dream. That's how children were! But as he drew nigh, something startled him. He couldn't tell what. The boy's face was... it was... he just couldn't tell. The eyes were closed, his body absolutely immobile. And the usual regular paced light breathing that indicated he was asleep were all there. But for some reason it felt as though the boy was awake. And staring at him.
I must've gone nuts. When was the last time I had a sleep longer than an hour? He shrugged those eerie feelings off and touched the boy's shoulder and gave him a sharp jerk,”Hey! Get up!”
The boy opened his eyes. And the way he did so made the man almost jump. It was the same feeling again. The way the boy opened his eyes, as soon as he'd shaken him: slowly, patiently and calmly, almost certified the fact that he wasn't asleep.
“What are you up to, huh? Sleeping on the tracks? Want some beating up, huh?” He growled.
The boy looked at him as if he were a little child, “Tracks? It's not a track!”
The man couldn't fathom what he was hearing, “Huh?”
“It's an airport. I was resting on the runway,” He seemed annoyed that he had to produce an explanation.
The man could only produce one response, “Huh?”
The boy seemed irritated. He stood up, “What happens in runways? Airships run and take off, don't they?”
The man tried to nod.
And he turned and started to run along the track. He was running and running, and was picking up speed. In a few seconds he was almost a mile far.
And then, just as the airships running on runways always do...
He took off.
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