A thankful break from a monotonous Sunday evening—which usually begins with an abrupt end to extended siestas, closely followed by EPL’s Super Sunday (minus John Dykes’ prematch sound bytes), only to conclude with open-ended conversations with online friends, deep into the night—I found myself skipping my habitual weekend football fodder, getting dragged into witnessing the IPL Twenty20′s finale between Deccan Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers instead.
Was I excited? Not really. I was looking forward to a cosy evening with some good friends more than anything else. To be honest, this was the first game I watched in IPL’s 2009 season. While sitting in the stands, witnessing the first test between India and Australia, back in last October, I remember being all amped up over the prospect of watching some of Royal Challengers’ home games at the Chinnaswamy. I wasn’t prejudiced against watching the IPL from the beginning, just felt disappointed and robbed over the tournament’s hosting in South Africa.
When I ended up at my friend’s place, who was kind enough to host the evening’s get-together, I was looking forward to some good cricket. Food and drinks accompanied the festive spirit (Go Challengers!), much to my surprise; and with likeminded sports-loving, couch- and beanbag-hugging maniacs, what else did they mean in the “Watching the game, having a Bud” adverts? Perfect setting. All the game needed to do was match the expectations.
Deccan were asked to bat by Kumble, whose second-ball dismissal of Gilchrist was flukely predicted by yours truly, moments before the delivery, and followed by an uncontrolled tizzy immediately after. But that was all the excitement as far as cricket was concerned. The rest of the game was hopelessly lackadaisical, and failed to keep my attention. And others around me felt much the same—in varying degress, of course—peeling their eyes off the television screen, allowing themselves to get distracted easily—whether it was a song, a joke, or the long line of adverts that filled gaps between overs.
At some point, I realized that curtains were also falling on the current Premier League season, and that United were away at Hull City—who still weren’t completely safe from relegation—fielding a reserve team, with both eyes firmly set on Wednesday and Barcelona at Rome. I later found out they won the match 1-0 despite fielding a weak team, and that Hull were safe. Weird not to see a football game on its last weekend.
But as I left for home past midnight, watching Akon lip-sync his own number at the Wanderers, I couldn’t help thinking—what if we had switched sports, opting to watch football instead of cricket? Somehow I get the feeling it wouldn’t have been such a bad proposition, and Blueberry—my new best friend—seemed to agree.
Note to self: try to convert your friends into watching more football.
Originally published: May 26, 2009