Don’t rejoice too early
By Priyangwada Perera Ceylon Today Features
Ishara entered the living room. His father was watching TV. He was watching a cricket match. “Oh, have the cricket matches started? I thought we have cancelled all cricket matches. But they play IPL, do they, Thaththa?” a surprised Ishara asked her father.
“I thought ayya updated you on all cricket news. He knows everything that is to be known about IPL,” Ishara’s father laughed as he ruffled Ishra’s short curly crop of hair.
“Ayya did not tell me anything yet. Actually, the topic never came up because I never thought that the matches would be played this time,” Ishara said.
“Well, you were not wrong in thinking there is no chance of the matches being played this time. But take a look, my little lady. They are playing. However, it is nothing like what it used to be. The players are all in, the teams are present, umpires, managers everyone is there but not the spectators,” he explained.
Ishara’s mouth opened in surprise. “What? Do you mean to say that the matches are played in an empty stadium with no crowd? Oh, how horribly silent it must be. Players must be bored to death,” she let her imagination run wild.
“My darling, I do not think the players would be bored to death. After all, they have to play the game. Yes, the spectators make a difference. But players cannot be disturbed or dependent on spectators to keep them cheerful and focused. In fact, they have to make sure they are not influenced by the spectators,” Thaththa explained.
There was one more thing to add. “But, if you sit with me and watch, you will see that special things are done to keep that feeling and enjoyment of the game,” he said.
“Special things? Like what?” Ishara was curious to know. “There will be special music played. That is nothing new. It happens all the time, during the water breaks and over-breaks. But in addition to that, they are going to play the soundtracks of applause and cheers of spectators,” Thaththa said as Ishara listened in amazement.
“Wow! That will be so cool. How nice and thoughtful of the organisers. The players will definitely have their spirit lifted by these little tricks. I was feeling so bad for the cricketers. I hate the thought of playing for an empty spectator stand, even when we play Netball. But ours is not as big as IPL. Theirs is such an electrifying atmosphere,” she said thinking back on school netball matches.
Thaththa was already concentrating on the match. Just then, a loud cry on TV distracted her from her thoughts. Her father had his hands on this head. “Never rejoice too early. Never rejoice too early. In vain,” he kept muttering, and shaking his head. She missed what happened but she saw the replay. “Oh, dear. What on earth happened?” she asked. “The player took the catch. It was a very difficult catch but the fellow made a fine attempt and caught it. But he celebrated too early. Look, look at the replay.
Can you see him rejoicing? He is relaxed. He took his eyes off the ball and the next thing…” before he could complete, she cried in exasperation. “He dropped it. In vain. What a terrible thing to happen.” Thaththa too was visibly disappointed. But he told Ishara, “That is why one should never rejoice too early. You make sure you catch it and the player is out. Then you can do any devil dance. It is like what happened to us after COVID-19,” he said. Just when Ishara thought she understood what happened and how what her father said was related to that, he brought up COVID-19.
“Now, Thaththa, you complicate things. What has COVID-19 to do with rejoicing too early?” she wanted to know.
“We made the same mistake with COVID-19. My dear, it is a virus. Can we say that the effect of a virus is over and done with in such a short time? We cannot. But we rejoiced too early. We were so happy that we did the first phase excellently well. We took it easy. We relaxed,” he explained. Things were getting very clear to Ishara. “You are right.
Just like you said that the player took his eyes off the ball, we also took our eyes off the real danger of the situation. We relaxed. We thought we did it, is that not so, Thaththa?” she asked with her eyes shining. “Wow! That is my clever girl. How well you understood the similarity of the two situations.” Thaththa said with such pride that Ishara could not stop smiling.