It doesn't feel good to talk about religion in a sports Blog

shared by A bisht on Thursday, December 09, 2010

it doesn't feel good to talk about religion on a sports Blog.

But sometimes it becomes necessary. As it's the players, the torch bearers of sportsmanship, who themselves bring religion to the foray; making it necessary to make a comment.

Remember, Pakistan player named Yousuf Yohanna, a Christian. He is the same player who now plays as Mohammad Yousuf. What is important to note that, during the period, Mohammad Yousuf changed his faith to Islam; and started sporting a mustache less non-trimmed beard; the entire Pak team started blatant exhibitionism of their faith and also started carrying visible religious symbols. They also started crediting Almighty for their every win in post match events.

There's nothing wrong in having faith and sporting its symbols publicly, if the sport you play doesn't forbid you. But this over reliance on religion dents the sportsmanship. A player is known for achieving things on his own; he strives, toils, sheds his sweat and blood for the victory. Relying on God, every time, dents this spirit. Pakistan Team is a clear example of this.

On a different perspective, this blatant use of God, follows a trend too. A player who begins his career as an ideal sportsman, carrying nothing but himself; when gets dropped; and then makes a comeback shows more such religious exhibitionism compared to others. It may be true that during his lean phase, no one else but the God may have helped him; But still why undergo such drastic personality modification that simply gives away what is in the heart.

Here, an Indian player, Yousuf Pathan comes into picture.Yousuf remained out of Indian team for quite some time; and then made a comeback in this series. But this Yousuf looks different, the beard is much bigger now and he tried to bring God into the frame on a couple of occasions.

Some among esteemed readers will call this write-up bigoted; but I have seen write-ups and artistic expressions showing as if Yousuf is on a road to some vengeance, with religion by its side. Take aside, Islam, how will cricket fans see a player who suddenly starts sporting a Hare Krishna style bald head and a "shikha" and come on ground with vermilion smeared forehead. obviously people will call him very religious; and suspect him for having a drastic change.

That said, it's not about freedom of religion; it's about one simple question: Does a non trimmed beard, vermilion on forehead, bald head with a hare krishna like shikha make a player more comfortable on field; he may be getting eternal motivation; but what is more safe and convenient for a sportsman, all these body add-ons or army style trimmed hair, trimmed nails, clean shave look ?

I still feel, Hashim Amla, the South African Cricketer sports a beard not because of his belief; but because he feels he has not been given his due. His exhibitionism has nothing to do with religion. Religion is just a symbol of the deprivation.

You can decide better.

31 comments:

Golandaaz said...

Relgion is a private matter. I think a Hayden, MoYo and a Pathan have every right to decide how far they want to practice it and how blatant they want to be

When a team collectively decides to flaunt it, like Pakistan tended to do post Saeed Anwar and during Inzamam's reign; things get awkward.

Nice post though...

straight point said...

i believe till the time his religion talks or display on field, as you have put it, isn't coming in the way he plays sport... i am ok with it...

so it does not matter is somebody corosses his heart... bow in front of almighty or put ruraksa around his head or neck... till his primary role as bowler, batsman is not affected by it...

cheers!

A Bisht said...

@Golandaaz____________Thanks

I agree with you, religion is a personal matter; and all religions in the world are equal. So why make any distinction.

As you said the consequences of exhibitionism are more visible when the entire team becomes too much God guided.

But I have a point here: For public figures it's utmost important to not go too blatant; as they set standards for those who admire them. and whether it's their disappointment with the set-up; they themselves very well know that ups and downs are there in every player's life. So why give away too much that is interpreted rightly or wrongly.

A Bisht said...

@straightpoint__________I agree, as long as this doesn't percolate into the game; it's OK.

But the problem is: No matter how much one tries it affects the game; after initial 'They Were unjust to me' induced adrenalin rush subsides.

straight point said...

But the problem is: No matter how much one tries it affects the game; after initial 'They Were unjust to me' induced adrenalin rush subsides.

this is very strange argument... lets say even if is subsidies... how does it affects his game...?

and if it does affect his game... he gets dropped like all other guys and not coz he practiced his religion on field...

cheers

A Bisht said...

@Straightpoint___________As it's not form driven. But the previous statement showed some possibility, not a definite consequence.

Golandaaz said...

AB, I am responding to this from your comment

For public figures it's utmost important to not go too blatant; as they set standards for those who admire them

If we agree that there is nothing wrong in wearing your religion on your sleeve as long as it is done at a personal level, what's wrong with such a role model?

There will be some kids who look up to the guy for his sporting skills. Others might get influenced by his show of religion. Why should we be concerned.

A Bisht said...

@Golandaaz________At one place in the write-up I have written the same, you have pointed to. So I admit on that point I'm contradicting what I said in the comment section.

But if our idea is to discuss, then:

Can we say, since public figures are public; hence they can't have anything like personal religion?

As to be honest, people will emulate them and try to interpret their moves discretely.

As irrespective of our religions, if we start endorsing too much religion on us, we'll not be interpreted rightly or wrongly.

A Bisht said...

"As irrespective of our religions, if we start endorsing too much religion on us, we'll not be interpreted rightly or wrongly."

: This refers to common people.

Golandaaz said...

Public figures too are entitled to personal choices and space. Many US presidents wear their religion on their sleeves. So does our Manmohan Singh. We may be used to seeing a turbaned man, but trust me for many it is too stark an image of a man making his religion public.

While on this topic....watch the movie "Chariots of Fire" if you have not done that already. Really explores this aspect of sportsmen well. I think it also won an Oscar for best movie

Govind Raj said...

Bishen Singh Bedi, Sidhu and Bhajji have always been obvious stand outs for their get up.

But not many have brought God to the post-match presentation as much as Inzy Bhai and his successors did.

I have a doubt. If it is God who wins you the matches, then the same damned God must be one who loses the matches too... Right ?

Never heard a single losing Captain blaming God for the defeats, rain disruptions and creating Billy Bowden !

Spongebob said...

Brilliant post.

1) Religion is made by humans for humans.
2) 99.99% religions are made for economy boost.
3) Religion (may be) necessary for morality, not for survival.
4) There are 100000's of books out there, which can teach you morality better than one single faith.
5) If people aren't flexible with their religion, and when they start to question, 'hmmm if this is my religion then why do billion others on the planet have different belief' 'Am I following the 'RIGHT' religon?
6) What should I do to protect my religion?
7) How 'low' in morality should I go to protect my religion?

My last 5-7 points should nail down the problem with exhibitionism.

"hmmm why do I have to wear certain kind of cloths to prove and show to the world 'hey look at me I follow this religion' and this is what we wear and we like it, and it is the best religion out there you know" Follow us and please don't forget to donate so we can build thousands others pilgrims so we can fill up our pockets".

8) There is nothing wrong with having belief, personally, my belief is My parents are my God, and their Gods were my Grandparents. I exhibit my religion my bending my self against them and thanking them till they live for feeding me and giving birth to me.

9) Religion controls business dealings and it had control life of billions humans, and it is still doing it.

10) "Follow our religion, then and only then you will be most powerful devotee of the world, otherwise you won't get benefits from that like food, job, respect in community, etc. etc. ... " -- Now how moral is that?

So, in short, the reason why team wears one dress and not different fancy dress according to players income, is because to show unity in team, why do you have to show, live in front of million others that hey look at me I can score runs, because I follow this religion!!

Masuud said...

Nice and provocative indeed.

So portraying your religion, be it a muslim doing it with a non-trimmed beard or anyone, is a debatable issue now. Sounds pretty immature, tbh.
Beards have been carried by players for decades, patkas (the ones sikhs wear) have been supported for decades too, even the beliefs have been demonstrated in various junctures, be it in the form of a sajda (the kissing of turf) by a muslim player or a making of cross by a christian.

So what transpired when Pakistan won World Cups in 92' and 09'? Sajdas were done right in middle of the grounds, I don't remember anyone making a headline out of it. Roshan Mahanama used to make a cross once he used to arrive at the crease and did that throughout his career, so did Chaminda Vaas while starting to bowl and who not. From Bedi to harbhajan, Sikhs have wore patkas. You have examples which are years old.

I believe its all about how you perceive it. Its more phobic than having ground effects. And I agree with 'straight point' here, as far as it isn't effecting the performance on the field, religious phobia should be avoided; just doesn't sound alright.

Vidooshak said...

Well, I think this is a storm in a tea-cup. 20 years ago people would fulminate over tatoos the same way as they do with religion now. In fact, there was an attempt to ban comics in the US in 1953 because of the potential effects on kids. I think this too shall pass. If Pakistan feels they can perform better by becoming more religious so be it. But if fans get turned off, they won't see their games. Simple. Ultimately, whether it's tattooes, beards or skin heads, a sportsman needs mental cranking up to display his art day in and day out. Sometimes it's religion. No big deal.

Spongebob said...

Another point I want to make,

Just look at twitter feed of certain players, I don't have problem, when people say "Pray God for certain lives who have lost... etc.."

There are few players who are quoting particularly for "specific" religion quote. That's when my problem starts. It is too specific and it looks clear marketing for religion. What if your fan is follower for other religion!!

I never heard Bhajji congratulated or thanked particular Guru, live on front of camera, where millions viewing it. Just say "God" ergo "All God" "All beliefs" "All religions". When they become specific, thats when I start to feel itchy.

Just keep it to God, we don't need to know the details.

Religion is philosophy, it is not straight forward magic, that if you don't follow or don't say certain things --> your lungs will stop breathing or heart will stop beating. Just be flexible. It's just philosophy.

AND YES it can affect team mates moral and team spirits. Please ask Saeed Anwar how he convinced "MoyO" to turn into other religion which gave him 'power' to be best batsman of eternity. Really!! Give me a break !! And it is just an example that imagine how many "normal not famous individuals" are converted to other religion because either they were forced or convinced. Why!

A LOT. Why! Well, I can answer why just when I get bank account of certain trustee of pilgrims, which is not gonna happen, so I don't know the answer.

Just teach kids proper Science, Maths, teach them how to respect others, and Cricket, then tell them 'listen kid, there are billions of books written on philosophy, would you care to follow this or do you want to be someone who saves lives or help human kind OR spread this our philosophy so our empire spread around the world. Please choose Kid. What will that kid choose who have been taught science, maths and etc... I rest my case.

Just believe in everything or believe in nothing, life is too short for all this.

Golandaaz said...

actually in pre-independence india, the pentagulars had teams based on religion. so religion is in the roots of the game in india at least

A Bisht said...

@GovindRaj__________You have made a very apt point. Siddhu, Bedi, Harbhajan, came with symbols and carrying on with them. That's why they are not treating them as something that needs to be endorsed more aggressively. Even if Bhajji is dropped, he'll not start saying Wahe Guru ki kirpa, every time he performs well.

The question, as interpreted, is of blatant exhibitionism and its reasons and use of it as some vengeance .

A Bisht said...

@Golandaaz___________It's a common knowledge that, we take "An American president calling himself religious" very differently, when Iran Premier Ahmedinijad does so. And to be frank, there is not distinction between the the two, statement wise.

But, what is to be noted is knee-jerk personality modification. And that said, any sudden change is seen with surprise and ulterior motives, irrespective of religion.

A Bisht said...

@Spongebob__________ Agree with the most, you said.Can't put it better.

As you said, professionals should differentiate themselves with the quality of their work. Even if one wants to sport some religious, caste symbols that should not come in the way of one's personality as a professional.

What does Army teach to a soldier, by repeated drills that require a soldier to tag themselves with a professional tag, Corporal XYZ. etc.

Dean jones got a pasting when he addressed Hashim Amla inappropriately; and deserved that too; but equally important is to ask why Amla is so hellbent to sport a beard that needs to be carefully taken care of, to not become risky on on ground. Remember how Amla debuted too.

A Bisht said...

@Masuud___________There is nothing provocative in this post. The post doesn't question any religion, religious symbols, or whether a religion is a personal matter or not.

It questions, blatant or knee jerk exhibitionism of religion. And it's not about agreeing, it's about interpretation and sentiment that is being shown. As some of the esteemed readers have said; a professional should have one religion his profession. If religion comes into picture unnecessarily, grouping and polarization takes place.

And let I assure you Masuud, the aim of this post is never to stir a negative debate.

Read this: http://wisemobility.blogspot.com/2010/12/benares-bomb-blast-doesnt-signify.html

A Bisht said...

@Vidooshak__________your interpretation can be right too.As this brings another dimension to this debate.

A Bisht said...

@Vidooshak__________But if the interpretation says, players are playing for select galleries, then why to do that.

A Bisht said...

@spongebob________In reference to a part of your second comment.

PRs use a strategy which catapults their clients to sky. The strategy is to accuse some big personality and within hours, the not so known client becomes well known. Amitabh Bacchan remained a constant darting board for Raj Thackery camp, for the reason.

But now, celebrities are either fearful or have known, how to benefit by bringing region to their messages, like "I'm mumbaikar", "appeal to kolkatans to vote me" etc etc.

But you are right, doesn't look good, as the entire nation supports stars.

deekay said...

A match which pak won or lost..i dont remember correctly(was it t20 wc?), after the game, during the presentation ceremony, i clearly remember a without beard shoaib mallik thanking all the muslims of the world for supporting Pak team, whereas i also remember a bearded shahid afridi thanking fans from all over the world for support...

Spongebob said...

I had written very long Argument on this, but I just deleted it and have saved it somewhere, I don't want to puke on SP's or AB's site/post. Otherwise, it might just slap many beliefs and religion, which I wanted to do but this is not the place.

Stick to cricket. That's all, I want to say, but since AB have mentioned on Thakery's B.S. propaganda crap.

I might just add this from my post.

....Don't get me started on this mate, even some fans are waiting for few celebrities to make a comment. They just sneakily wait and see, Does that person saying 'good' about religion or region, "oohhh he does said good" "He is so awesome let's go and watch their movies" "Ooohh wait he didn't say Happy D... or Eid ..." "Ohhh he doesn't respect our religion or region anymore" "Let's burn effigies Hurrayy"

More people who exhibit their religion, they are the one who are suffering from inferiority complex, and they are the one who has "religionophobia" just like having tabloid tattoos or body piercing etc. They want to show to the world and prove the world, "Hey look at me, I am special than you and better than you". ...

I had more stuff to say but may be later but not here ... haha otherwise SP will straighten me. lol

Cheers

A Bisht said...

Deekay__________keen observation. I'll not say, all such incidents can be seen with the view point the writeup has put. Hence your observation is equally weighty.

What the post talks about is a behavior giving itself to interpretation-- right or wrong, too easily.

A Bisht said...

@Spongebob__________First of all thanks for enlightening us; unless the thought is enlightening, nP with words. The Blog is yours.

I mentioned RT, just to bring home the point why stars specifically refer to particular regions -- It can be love, fear, vested interest.

We are still talking cricket. :)

Spongebob said...

May be later AB, knowing that there is no 'up there' it's all down here right in between two ears, doesn't make me smart or genius. Lot of people know this. We created God, we created religions, and in egoist, marketing, economy fights between spreading religion, we have snatched normal human urges, rights and moral values. Yes, it might have done good, and gave hope to some, and gave them emotional boost, but this concept has taken more lives than save few.

In short, it is very cheap to get your job done through religion, it has become affordable "emotional sword on your neck", for many years. Try finding some non-believer and tell him/her to do the job for them, they will just say how much are you going to pay for it!! And that price is so high, so it's better to turn people in to sheeps than make them trained Dog, whom you have to give food after every other tricks.

Spongebob said...

I would like to share few cricket/religion incidents, since we are talking cricket.

We were playing quarter final in our inter-school tournament. We were 9 Indians and two Pakistani origin players. The team we were facing was made up of all 11 made in Pakistan. (They even did some kind of ritual before getting on to field.) Obviously, because mostly South Asian origin play cricket in USA/Canada. So, before the start of play, one of the opener from opposition team asked for our bat. Now, the problem was we only had two very good bats for whole season. And those were personal bats for my classmates, who later play league cricket. And these bats are very expensive once. So, our team decided not to share bats, since what if they mis-use the bat by constantly hitting the ground or playing rash bump shots.

So, we declined to share bats. They batted, I opened the bowling, and the guy who asked for bat, got out on my low out swinging full toss(it was crap bowl lol) and caught by keeper. They were bowled out for 65 runs. Then, we batted. And as expected, they had venomous bowlers, we almost had our *$$ handed to them, even chasing 65 runs. Bowl was swinging not two ways but three ways. lol. The game came down to last bowl 2 runs. Our best batsman scored only 15 runs and he cried on field and yelled while we were collapsing 'can't you guys just make 65 runs' The match was so emotional. I got run-out since my partner panicked and didn't run. After me was all tails. And yes it came down to last bowl 2 runs needed to win.

And the guy bowled full-toss, and my team player whacked that bowl through long-on and they took 2 runs. We all 11 + 2 ran on to field and lifted those two. Our cricket genitals were erracted. It was real happy moment for us. And now we are coming toward pavilion. And the guy we denied to give our bat, told our keeper (who was Pakistan born, and was able to speak "pashtu" language, and my team mate was from Karachi origin). So, that guy taunted my class mate, if you were real muslim you would have given me bat and I could scored many runs and we could have won the match.

Now I don't know about others, but saying crap like this really hurt our keeper, he almost had a fight with him. NOW HOW ON THESE deforresting world can 18 years old say something like that. So, basically bringing religion into moment like this is BIG NO NO and cynical thing to do. It's big turn off. Even, I saw people getting admission in India right in front of me, who had 60 marks lower than me, who got in Admission and I was declined, because I wasn't following in to their religion category. !!! Really!! This is 2010. WTH are we doing! And about Thakare's crap, remember he even had problem when Sachin said Mumbai (Indians) belongs to all India. What an ...****

People should interview people who have lost their lives, jobs, their rights etc. just because they weren't following certain religion or from certain region, for me, it's too easy to say sitting in front of internet, but people who have really suffered severely will not say single word, we will just see their tears and their helplessness.

Cheers, thank you for allowing my comments, but if we don't talk this then who will.

Spongebob said...

I would like to share few cricket/religion incidents, since we are talking cricket.

We were playing quarter final in our inter-school tournament. We were 9 Indians and two Pakistani origin players. The team we were facing was made up of all 11 made in Pakistan. (They even did some kind of ritual before getting on to field.) Obviously, because mostly South Asian origin play cricket in USA/Canada. So, before the start of play, one of the opener from opposition team asked for our bat. Now, the problem was we only had two very good bats for whole season. And those were personal bats for my classmates, who later play league cricket. And these bats are very expensive once. So, our team decided not to share bats, since what if they mis-use the bat by constantly hitting the ground or playing rash bump shots.

So, we declined to share bats. They batted, I opened the bowling, and the guy who asked for bat, got out on my low out swinging full toss(it was crap bowl lol) and caught by keeper. They were bowled out for 65 runs. Then, we batted. And as expected, they had venomous bowlers, we almost had our *$$ handed to them, even chasing 65 runs. Bowl was swinging not two ways but three ways. lol. The game came down to last bowl 2 runs. Our best batsman scored only 15 runs and he cried on field and yelled while we were collapsing 'can't you guys just make 65 runs' The match was so emotional. I got run-out since my partner panicked and didn't run. After me was all tails. And yes it came down to last bowl 2 runs needed to win.

And the guy bowled full-toss, and my team player whacked that bowl through long-on and they took 2 runs. We all 11 + 2 ran on to field and lifted those two. Our cricket genitals were erracted. It was real happy moment for us. And now we are coming toward pavilion. And the guy we denied to give our bat, told our keeper (who was Pakistan born, and was able to speak "pashtu" language, and my team mate was from Karachi origin). So, that guy taunted my class mate, if you were real muslim you would have given me bat and I could scored many runs and we could have won the match.

Now I don't know about others, but saying crap like this really hurt our keeper, he almost had a fight with him. NOW HOW ON THESE deforresting world can 18 years old say something like that. So, basically bringing religion into moment like this is BIG NO NO and cynical thing to do. It's big turn off. Even, I saw people getting admission in India right in front of me, who had 60 marks lower than me, who got in Admission and I was declined, because I wasn't following in to their religion category. !!! Really!! This is 2010. WTH are we doing! And about Thakare's crap, remember he even had problem when Sachin said Mumbai (Indians) belongs to all India. What an ...****

A Bisht said...

@spongebob________Well said, and look forward to more thoughts. Thanks

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