Monday, August 25, 2008

A speech i gave

I do quite a bit of debating and public speaking. This is a speech for a national debate that I took part in. The topic is "Sports auction is no sporting option." I spoke for the topic.

“Ultimately it’s the money”…this phrase seems to precede all sporting events these days.

Sports has lost its sanctity in the past few years and who do we blame for this?

Sports is as old as civilization itself and even in the prehistoric times we can see pictures of people indulging in some sort of sport or the other.

If we were to trace the history of the Olympics Games it dates back to nearly a century back.

Well are we talking about-games or sports? Sports is no GAME these days as what makes it work is money and money and money. Like they say “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

Where is that so called “sportsmanship” spirit that we grew up with? Does a sportsman belong anywhere these days? Does he play because he loves the sport? Does he play because he wants to make the nation proud?

The answer is maybe not. He plays because he gets paid to play.

WHAT makes a man so desperate to own a sports team that he would be willing to pay a billion dollars for it? And not just one man, but a whole lot of men, each bidding against the others for the right to buy the team.

The trend started with football teams being bought and sold and the practice has now found its way into many more sports like Basketball, Base ball and now Cricket.

What sense does it make to postpone improvements in the field, but spend lavishly on players before selling the team?

Well, it makes sense, for one, if you think that owners buy teams for vanity, rather than as an investment. No one's ego is massaged by owning a team of losers.

Answering why people buy teams turns out to be important to more than just sports fans. There is big money at stake.

After owners indulge their childhood fantasy of buying a team, they tend to switch to an adult perspective and start viewing the team as a business.

And they typically conclude that it's a bad business. And then what happens to the players then? They keep changing hands and earn money one way or the other…no sense of sense of a loyalty to any one except the highest bidder. How long can money motivate a person? The glitz and glamour eventually dies out and what is left is just only emptiness and no respect.

We can probably understand the scenario better if we talked about cricket because our great country is the pioneer in making this sport also a part of the rat race and game of auctioning.

Owning sports teams gives budding billionaires budding stardom and a big return. No wonder they are all lining up to get into this business.And with ever richer people bidding against each other the inflation only gets worse.

Business tycoons and bollywood stars bid for 78 players from across the globe in the recently concluded IPL series.

The entire game of cricket is now seen in different light. What happened to a thought like that was portrayed in the film Lagaan where the entire village got together in arms to fight for a cause..that’s what sports is all about. Wonder what would have happened if Bhuvan the protagonist in that movie had been bought by someone and played for the money and not for the spirit!!

I would like to leave you with a picture in your mind. I man on stage with an auctioneer shouting out his vital statistics...age, height, weight... like a slave or a cattle market. Is that what sports has become? Think about it...

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