Over a billion people have been engaged with the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup over the last month. It all started with everyone hoping the cricket teams of their respective countries will become the world champions. The fact remains that only one team will be the eventual world champions. This blog is not about trying to predict the eventual champs, it is to discuss the impact of such sports extravaganza has on the lives of people.
The International Cricket Council organizes the Men’s Cricket World Cup as well as other global competitions related to Cricket to propagate cricket as well as raise funds. I am not sure which comes first. Is it to raise funds to propagate cricket or propagate cricket to raises funds. Well it doesn’t matter, perhaps both ends feed each other. There could be other reasons, for example to raise the standards of the sport and of those who are involved in it such as the players, coaching staff, umpires, referees, cricket boards and administrators. These aims could have a higher purpose that impacts the lives of people and I would like to address such issues in this blog post.
My blog post of the last two months addressed the impact of violence, religion and politics on the lives of people in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, one of the former world champions who are now at the bottom of the table, struggling for form. Yet the entire nation was hoping that they will become the champs again. Teams from other countries besieged by violence such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are also in contention. The founders of cricket, England, is amid perhaps their worst political crisis related to Brexit. They entered the tourney as one of the favourites. Countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh and the West Indies are besieged with their own political and economic crises.
Therefore, the question is; does such sports extravaganzas help people to move on from violence and political crises? Do politicians who are responsible for such issues use such events to take the focus of the people away from themselves? Therefore, one possible purpose of such a sports extravaganza could be to help divert attention of people from burning issues. It can serve the politicians in their own political agendas; be it good or bad. It can serve people as it helps them escape from anxieties, that might have been detrimental to their mental health, the flip side being that their attention moving away from political issues that impact their lives, could lead to the election of the wrong people to govern them.
Such sporting extravaganza helps people hope that their respective teams would become the world champions. That hope keeps diminishing as the tournament unfolds and teams start to get eliminated from the semi-finals. In the current world cup, teams such as South Africa who were one of the top contenders were eliminated quite early extinguishing the hope of many millions. Teams such as Afghanistan who were not expected to go too far got eliminated early as well, hopefully not breaking too many hearts as this was expected.Teams such as West Indies who were not highly rated, but capable of getting eliminated early would have broken more hearts. Teams such as Sri Lanka gave new hope to Pakistan, Bangladesh and themselves to get in to the semi-finals by causing the biggest upset in the tournament, winning over tournament favourites England. Hope raises expectation and energy and causes disappointments to impact us emotionally. However, we can learn to deal with our emotions by managing our expectations. Therefore, the purpose of the Men’s Cricket World Cup could be to help people experience the emotional roller-coaster ride related to having hope and develop the skills of managing emotions.
Many playing nations have communal divisions. During Sri Lanka’s world cup win in 1996, it was reported that even the rebels fighting for a separate state were supporting Sri Lanka and celebrated the World Cup.The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka created a few communal divisions in Sri Lanka; many other countries competing in the Men’s Cricket World Cup too have such communal divisions. But these events unite people when they get together to support their country. Another interesting dynamic is how teams depend on other teams to win or lose for them to get in to the semi-finals. While India and Pakistan are arch rivals, Pakistan was supporting India in the game against England, as an Indian win improves Pakistan’s chances of getting in to the semi-finals. Almost every game has supporters from rival teams for this reason. While the intention is selfish, there could be an impact on peace and unity at a deeper level.
The cricket boards and players of the countries taking part get paid substantial amounts in addition to the price money of winning teams. They also get contracted for product endorsements as well as to play for premier leagues. These monies have a ripple effect on economies when such monies are invested in businesses, and employment and economic value is created. While this could be a very small percentage of the economy it does create a difference even in a small way. The flip side of this is the feeding of the arrogance of players and making them complacent. A positive on a wider scale is the aspiration created in the hearts and minds of youngsters to improve their skills, not only in cricket, but also in other sports and other spheres of life. If such aspirations are nourished in a healthy manner, it can help millions of people improve the quality of life. The flip side is those whose aspirations are not fulfilled using unhealthy means of responding to situations.
I remember when Sri Lanka won the world-cup, we became known throughout the cricketing world. It boosted the awareness and image of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, resulting in an improvement in the confidence of most Sri Lankans. This had a positive impact on Sri Lankan businesses and professionals. The opposite is also true for countries who fail, and this is an opportunity for leaders in such countries to help people channel their energy and passion to enhance their confidence in alternate arenas. Therefore enhancing the belief, passion and confidence in people to be the best in their areas of talents could be a purpose of such sporting extravaganza.
The question I was attempting to answer in this blog was; what is the impact of sports extravaganzas such as the Men’s Cricket World Cup on lives of people? The exploration in this writing shows that such sporting extravaganzas have a higher purpose to create economic prosperity, unity, hope, emotional maturity, confidence, competitive spirit, and professionalism on the lives of people. It is also evident that some people can use such events for personal benefits and for the determent of a better world.
The intention of this writing is to give you some material to help you reflect and make sense of your experience with the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup or similar sporting extravaganzas. The way these events touch different people are different given the state of their life and the way they make sense of world events. I recommend that you reflect on the steps you can take to use this experience to make sense of your purpose and help others in your life make sense of their purposes, with the intention of living a better life and to make this world a better place.
This new phase in this series on ‘purposefulness’, which I started six months ago, is dedicated to address living issues and struggles related to purposeful living. I hope this short blog post inspires you to find ways of making sense and dealing with experiences and struggles you encounter when trying to live purposefully.
I wish you purposeful living!