Doordarshan, Sunday, 4 pm.. remember? In the days of only ‘Distant Viewing’, this was what i used to wait for on Sunday evenings.. before the days of live transmissions, this was your portal to get glimpses of international matches.. i used to curse them when they chose amatuer wrestling, billiards, chess and inane stuff i never knew could be classified as sport, and the entire show went without cricket, the only game i had an interest in..
Times have changed, and tennis, Formula 1 have been added to the interests, and therefore last week is an eventful one to me… early in the week, my favourite Las Vegas gamble in any tennis tournament, the one i used to bet on in any match, despite whatever odds- Andre Agassi, played his last match.. he lost the game, set and match, but in a larger picture, there would be few who could match him.. i was a fan from when he said Sampras looked like something “that swung off a tree” to the time when he said “Sampras, Sampras, Sampras, Sampras, Sampras” when asked who were the five greatest players the game had seen.. Of course i hated him a for a few days when he married Graf, but then that was only a few days…in the sport that starts with ‘love all’, he ended it, loved by all..
Monza witnessed a great race last weekend, Schumacher is now a couple of points from Alonso,and there are still 3 races left.. But that was not the only reason why Monza was eagerly awaited for, this was the place where Schumacher would make an announcement about his future.. and announce he did, his retirement. Another favourite, on a different track.. In a sport that starts when the 5 lights go off, and ends when the chequered flag is waved, he had a career chequered with controversy, but more brightly lit than any other..
They leave behind empty spaces in an ordinary fan’s mind, empty spaces that cant be filled again,because in a different corner of the world, he grew up with them, cried when they won and cried when they lost.. Matches and races created memories that were special, memories that reminded him of how it was when they were the icons, they were the supermen.. they were the ones who he thought would last forever..
and so, their departure also tells him that times have changed, and a new generation is busy creating its own heroes.. its a new age, one that also has virtual XBox heroes along with real ones, its an age thats isnt so easy to belong to, when he is used to a different league of heroes..and so, like with every other thing, he relies on memories, bittersweet memories… he closes his eyes, sees the stadium, hears the frenzy and remembers the days that used to be, and the times that used to be….and applauds an era that has just made a final bow..
until next time, game over