A couple of hours ago, I thanked my friend, because he posted a status on Facebook, encouraging our semi-finalist in the Rio Olympics Singles Badminton, to “Go for Gold.”
It was heartening. Almost all the folks I know on Twitter, were saying that we were “assured of the silver” — which is not a bad thing. But me? I hate calling out results before they are out.
India has performed (as of today) dismally at the 2016 Olympics. There is no contesting that. Our first medal was a Bronze in Women’s wrestling. No doubt, I am happy for her. But I was smart enough not let my emotions flood out in social media. There are identities at play. The person that got us our first medal is: a human, a wrestler, an Indian, an athlete, a woman, a Haryanvi (a region in India). [I bet you a beer, someone will comment on this post: why woman is fifth on the list.]
Watching the narrative, I wondered who won? Almost every camp appropriated her win. And, in turn, disparaged an opposing camp. My winner’s achievement were backgrounded. And it will happen again.
I could not, to save my life, abstract all these identities to congratulate her. I did not, publicly. Somewhere in the deep recesses of mind, I just said — Well Done!
Know this. Through your efforts and sacrifice, you are much more than those who make fun of you. Sheer qualification for the Olympics is an enormous thing. I used to be an athlete, I have a some sense of your life. I hope this message finds its way to you. And it tells you: how special you are. Irrespective of the sport you play, you are the top-most in “hurdles.”
Thank you for getting there.
When you come back home, please ignore the almost useless debate, which we will continue ad nauseam. Do what you do best. Focus on what you do best.
Ignore, and, if possible, forgive us for our ignorance and shamelessness. We have sacrificed belief and action on the altar of the God of one-forty. If there ever was to be the Olympics of cynicism in 140 characters, we’d get gold.
And even that gold would be due to you; because if you did not exist — where would we hone our useless, pathetic skill, of flicking judgement through our armchairs.