Of women fans who know their sport and can deal with loss sans the drama
Nearly half of the 1.2 billion hearts that stopped beating when India went down in the Cricket World Cup semi-final, belonged to diehard women fans. Do not do a disservice by calling them female followers. They are not groupies, inking Virat’s name on their lower back. They know their sport, they cherish the players and are not shy about expressing their opinion.
They are also supportive as they are wont to be, hence you can see how they have secured the post-disaster narrative by ensuring that the troll-like nastiness has not blown out of proportion. Leave it to the men and between their beers and kebabs, they would have dispatched the entire team down a bolt hole and maybe burnt a few effigies in the process. The sanguine acceptance combined with stark, fist-clenching disappointment is the hallmark of the dedicated female fan. What a weekend it would have been for us. Wimbledon last eights and had India reached the finals, our cup would have runneth over. Quite literally.
This last week, we have logged in our laptops at work, streamed live matches on our tablets and put the phone on the grass court at Wimbledon watching 15-year-old Coco demolish myths and more. In between we have cheered US women’s soccer captain Rapinoe take a direct and undiluted stand on rights and her politics. Then Dutee Chand struck gold and we became quite delirious that it was all headed to a big win for India. Alas. It was not meant to be.
How far we Indian women, who love sports, have come. Look at the young female commentators who know their pull from their hook, the square drive from the mid-off and the yorker from the full toss and you get the picture. Not so long ago, there was this smashing mini celebrity in the TV studio and all we talked about was the length of her blouse (or the lack of it) and the strappy thins which just about managed to stay on her shoulders. She was just that — eye candy. We didn’t listen to her much but we ourselves didn’t have much of a voice. We were a quiet lot even five years back as the sundry men in our lives reduced us to metaphors in sports — women love sports for the men — the abs and the biceps and the cute dimples. We love our sports, more if not less than our men. We are fully capable of madness at the zinging ball that is fielded just before it hits the boundary and no, we are not jealous of the WAGs.
Onwards we march despite the disaster in Manchester. Yes… that is the official version we are giving. We aren’t yet cricket hooligans. Deep in our hearts, we are seething we didn’t make it, but then we believe in second chances. Just this once, maybe.
Anjoo Mohun works in the Higher Education sector with sports in her DNA