We are too quick to judge, to write off sportsmen or a team, only to be proven wrong, only to be shown from time to time that our predictions don’t take human will or grit or determination into account. I didn’t give New Zealand any chance in the semi-final clash against India. Most of us didn’t. The result shook us all ; made us write long posts in the social media, lots of experts gave their opinions on the national television debates and we, thought that the semi-final victory was an aberration, wrote off New Zealand happily again.
Our lives and its story are defined by numbers in many ways. How do I measure success? How do you measure success? Back in 2015, after New Zealand beat South Africa in the semifinals, Brendon McCullum spoke extensively on how the kiwis were having the time of their lives. They would finish runners-up in the event. They couldn’t put up a fight against a certain Starc. Did you go on record to say that they had a successful campaign, even though they returned empty-handed? May be not.
The word “IF” has a lot of importance in our lives. Kane Williamson took out all the powers of the word. Carrying on the legacy, the calm captain ensured that this time around they gave everything, everything they had on that day. I wonder if he has read Seneca’s description of uncontrollable flight of time and decided to exert himself and the team towards this one goal of winning the cup. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we did the same in everything we do everyday, irrespective of the bearing?
They would go on to lose this time around as well. Did you sleep that night, Kane? What about your warrior team mates? How did the support staff fare? I remember Mary Oliver’s lines: “Tell me about despair, yours and I will tell you mine”. Human will exerts itself in sports like no other, it conquers the frailties of the physical form and rises above the absence of natural abilities. Malinga, at 36 became the fastest bowler to take 50 tickets in a world cup. At 36, fast bowlers pick up mikes. Perhaps, the greatest exhibition of human will is provided by the black caps. A rugby mad nation and yet they have the most semi-final appearances, six in total. Add to that the two final appearances, they are probably the most consistent team in world-cups.
Their cupboard runs bare and yet, they ran a very successful campaign. Not everything can be measured in numbers. They spread hope, immense joy and demonstrated tremendous belief along with self-control. They brought dignity to our game, played it in the right spirit. Four years is a long time. Anything can happen during this period. Life is uncertain like cricket and predictions go haywire. But, if they have the time of their lives, then so will we, of this I am certain.