Champions of humility..

Champions of humility..

Hope comes in all forms and all norms.

On Sunday the 03rd of April, it came to a team considered the under dogs in a hotly contested cricket tournament that had millions glued to their TV screens throughout the cricket mad world.

Darren Sammy who led the team from the Caribbean to the Finals against England, held in Eden Garden Stadium Kolkata, proved to the world that he was a man of his word. He believed in a victory when others doubted their ability to win cricket’s most prestigious crown currently. He believed in God – a devout Christian like most of his team mates, a fact he was proud to declare following their stunning win over England. He had nothing but praise for the boys who made it all possible. He had hope – not just a flicker, but the kind of hope that brims over and infects others around him.

Darren Sammy showed the world that nothing is hopeless until and unless you have taken it head on. Hope is what drives us human beings to achieve stellar success – it is the essential ingredient that keeps human spirit going even when everything else around you, as the poet said, is ready to quit.In the case of the men from the Caribbean, they had plenty of it going around. They never vacated their posts at being masters of hope. And it paid off.

The West Indian team also championed a greater cause. They were the happy-go-lucky team, always smiling, sharing a close sense of camaraderie all around. In a sense, they had perfected the art of having fun despite all the seriousness of winning cricket’s coveted title. They replaced the fun factor that seemed to have gone out from the game, with big bucks taking over and more and more strategic moves wrought with seriousness that belies the joy of playing a sport for the love of it.

Darren and the boys also gave a master lesson in humility that night. They were not just the unexpected champions but they were also humble as they dedicated their win to their fans back home. The cricket pundits had not expected them to rise up to the challenge of entering the Finals and stand tall enough to win. As Darren himself told the world in a speech packed with emotion, they were called no brainers at one stage – they had a point to prove. They knew they were champions inside. The world got to see it at the right time, the right way. When you know and believe that you have within you what it takes to be a champion, not even the world’s biggest and the best heavyweights can stand in your way.

The West Indies cricket team inspired us all with their win. Their victory affirmed that it is not always the most expected, the most favoured, the most likely that win. That there is always room, just enough, for hope to triumph amidst adversity. That tomorrow belongs to those who believe in their ability to rise above the tide.

May Darren and his team go on to inspire hundreds of youth in the Caribbean and elsewhere to give their very best.

 

 

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Kumar Sangakkara’s legacy …

Kumar Sangakkara’s legacy …

I am not exactly a cricket fan although Sri Lanka rising like we did on Indian Independence Day, breaking through the impossible to the possible, does get me interested. But watching Kumar Sangakkara, ever the gentleman, ever a true Trinitian who personifies everything about that great school in the hills, make a very poignant farewell speech, was one of those moments which will for certain stay etched in our memories, for all of us as Sri Lankans.

Many of us, if not all of us, will always remember where we were when we heard his words – my husband and I listened to his speech on Facebook, sitting in the quietness of our Holiday Inn City Centre room in Singapore. Everything stopped for a brief moment as we took in his words – and I am not ashamed to say we both found ourselves teary eyed.

His last speech on the turf took me back to one of the most famous speeches that truly defined Kumar Sangakkara the cricketer. We all know what that speech is and what features it raffled among the idiots who simply could neither decipher the true meaning of his words nor be in possession of the capacity to do so.

For my generation and happily for my son’s, Kumar will always be the finest Sri Lankan who rose above the pettiness that has become a sad habit of this country and its people. He rose above the insecurity, the jealousy, the small mindedness, the prejudice and above all, the tendency to condemn that seem to plague many of us. He stood tall with his fellow Lankans and fellow cricketers all together, all as one. In rising higher, not just on the cricket pitch but outside it as well, he became the icon of hope that we lacked.

He flickered and lit a thousand lights in the minds of my son’s generation of Lankans. His command of the Queen’s language , his ability to articulate and his capacity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s finest cricketers, truly lifted him up to great heights, higher than any Lankan cricketer before him. And needless to say, it makes us proud ; not in a snobbish kind of way but in a way that assures the rest of the civilized world that no matter how tarnished our name as a nation may have been once upon a time, we are still one of the finest civilizations on earth. Kumar Sangakkara’s behaviour has been impeccable both on and off the field – he, one could truly say, reflected the 2,000 year old heritage the un-civilised politicos love to throw around to fool voters. He personified the Lankan spirit, the Lankan talent, the Lankanness of open homes, smiles of welcome and gratitude.

Kumar brought home the importance of values to the young generation as he gave his farewell speech.  He was grateful to his parents, his school, his coaches, his family and everyone else who contributed towards his success. He humbly acknowledged  their contribution and was thankful for it. In doing so, he sent a powerful signal to the wired generation of today. If he could be thankful , so could they.

Kumar Sangakkara, to my mind, has never been seen or heard to shout it out, engage in brazen acts some sportsmen seem to specialise in – neither does he give attitude, a favourite past time of the famous and the brat pack. He is a credit to his parents who raised him and a symbol of finesse to all. Gossip media has not been able to go after him – there’s been no need to. He has always been a class, clean act to follow.

Thank you Kumar for all that you did for Sri Lanka – you are a Sri Lankan icon the world recognises and admires…if we lost credibility on the world stage for one reason or another, if we are dejected when our passports are scrutinized at international airports, if we feel ashamed when the Australian government had to sponsor advertisements on local TV advising us not to come there in boats, if we felt violated to watch absolute mutts masquerade as diplomats on the world stage, we could always point you to them. There is the one true Sri Lankan who can stand up there – this country nurtured him and despite the negatives, it does and will nurture a thousand other Sangakkaras.