Diary of an exasperated mother – Part 3

My son, who loves cricket to the point of obsession, recently had his first tryst with the real field, far away from the secured nets, simulated learning conditions, and friendly matches. His first real experience of the competitive cricket match, that was to teach him that being a player is not about playing IPL matches and success, but about toil and hard work.

I have been pretty much in love with cricket (and cricketers) since childhood, as my undying love for Sourav Ganguly proves. I even stopped watching cricket for quite some time after he retired. Thankfully good sense soon prevailed and I was back in front of the TV to watch the game that so fascinates millions in our country and across the world. My brother, a deaf cricketer, has represented India in cricket from his team and has been known, as long as he played active cricket, as a “mighty good player”. So, when my son’s interest geared towards cricket, I was a happy soul.

And he, true to his passion, has worked hard and in a pretty short span has managed to catch the eyes of the coaches as a potential future player. We were proud parents when we were told that he is to play a match on the 30th April and would have to get his documents for age proof. Having been familiar with the cricketing circuits while my brother was a player, me and my husband were super proud of our little boy being chosen to represent his club. After all, he is the youngest to be selected for the playing XI! I had of course spoken to him about how to deal with it even if he is not in the playing XI! I know he would have been devastated, but he was told me “So what if I am the 12th man. It is also a type of learning to sit and watch a match”. I am proud my son can say that!
Well, fortunately for him, he was there in the playing XI, and like a proud doting mother, I captured moments of his bowling and batting (not that he emerged a hero in any of those, but he was playing in the first XI!!!), thank god for high powered camera mobiles!

The first match started off well for their team but was washed out due to rain. It was the second one that taught him his first lesson in being a sportsperson – you win some, you lose some, but unless you lose, you will never realize the true worth of a win. Yes, their team lost. Not a disastrous loss but one that would probably haunt them for a while. This isn’t a match report, so I wont go into details, but they lost because winning friendly matches against weaker teams is hardly success.

Rhiju was heart broken and was silently crying at the end of the match and I had a hard time trying to make him understand that he alone could not have changed the reality unlike what he has seen on the TV. Looking at matches on the TV and seeing cricketers pulling off last minute wins with majestic shots was his notion of a match! I was glad though! You might wonder whether I am normal, but to be honest, I did not want him to be over confident. I did not want him to think that he is too good for his shoes. Like all mothers, I too want my son to win, to be able to fulfill his dreams, to be successful in what he wants to achieve, but not easily and not by becoming over confident. I want him to learn that the path to success is not smooth and you can’t reach there in a day.

My process of making him a better sportsperson and a better human being started with the match that he could not win and I know I, along with my son, have a long long way to go! Rhiju, luckily, has started to realize that the road is long and arduous and not exactly an easy one. I am hoping this will make him a better human being, not just a good sportsperson. I am hoping it will make him a team player, not an individual sportsman, for it is in learning to be a part of a team, no matter how insignificant your role, that we truly emerge as true professionals. I love the way the team huddles after the fall of every wicket. I love the way they stand by each other and not blame each other, if one of them fails. I love what Rhiju is learning and the way he is learning!

Somehow, in today’s world of rapidly decreasing tolerance levels, I hope to teach him a bit of humility and tolerance, even if that does not make him a “public” hero! He will be my hero, and a true one when time comes, if he can manage to inculcate these smaller intricacies of life and be more tolerant, more open, less biased, and better human being!

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