With the World Cup right at our doorstep, the number of people catching Cricket Fever these days is increasing by the hour. Walking the streets of Colombo or even just looking out the window or turning on the television or radio, signs of Cricket Fever rapidly spreading across the population of the country are evident.
The Cricket World, as a result of this epidemic, has seen an influx of new comers, and yet the sceptics remain, those who believe contacting it would be disastrous. Yet having been termed an incurable sufferer of this disease for years now, I know only too well the challenges of every-day life with Cricket Fever, and let me tell you it won’t kill you-it might kill your social life up to some extent on match days, but it won’t kill YOU!! 😉
Diagnosis is often hard, the initial symptoms are so subtle that in most cases sufferers dismiss it as a passing illness and are too far gone by the time they realise just what’s hit them, and hence let me outline some of the earliest detectable symptoms of this disease.
While the inability to talk or think of anything but ‘cricket’ is a dead give-away. The inability to keep still while ‘papare’ music is being played. A flutter of excitement whenever any cricketer is mentioned. The intense and passionate response to whatever is being discussed about said cricketer or team. A feeling of utter dread at even the mere thought of missing a match. The ability to recognise the entire Sri Lankan team from Kumar Sangakkara to Upul Tharanga to Rangana Herath and even those not in the first eleven-without seeing their faces. A tingly feeling whenever you walk into a cricket stadium. The strong urge to dress up in blue and yellow Sri Lanka cricket gear. The pride that washes over you whenever you think of the team, feelings of anxiety and fear as the World Cup draws near and the unshakeable belief in your heart despite that fear that Sri Lanka WILL win, are all symptoms to watch out for.
In most Cricket Fever cases, sufferers find it difficult, on match days, to concentrate on ANYTHING but, how many runs have been scored and how many wickets have fallen. This makes work, school and in some extreme cases even conversation, almost impossible. Added to this, if the contest is a close one, those final, tense moments of the match will see one gripped by a foreboding panic, that in its intensity sometimes renders the sufferer immobile.
The acuteness of the pain and disappointment that follow a narrow loss, can only be matched in severity by the goose-bumps, butterflies and sheer rush of joy and pride that are the culmination of a hard fought victory. As the fever progresses some enthusiasts experience bouts of neurosis. It is to this latter stage of Cricket Fever that many owe my ‘occasional’ neurotic behaviour. 😉
The implications of Cricket Fever however are far reaching and go beyond that of the individual. We have all seen what it can do to a country as a whole, India’s frenetic love for their cricket team, which at times borders on the worshipful, is at others so violent that it has even resulted in matches being forfeited, called off and even players’ houses being damaged.
A few Pakistanis realising the imminent dangers of an outbreak of Cricket Fever, took matters into their own hands early on itself, taking steps to ensure that the World Cup wouldn’t be played in Pakistan and thus preventing the wide-spread infection of the disease in the country, during this very time period.
Yet, however why our players, the Sri Lankan team, were caught in the middle of these precautionary measures is beyond me!! Sri Lanka in their own attempt at combating the disease have banned pappare music at matches. For all we know blue and yellow t-shirts, cheering and breathing might be next on the list. But I guess we shouldn’t complain, their looking out for the greater good of the country, and probably think ‘prevention is better than cure’.
And yet one should spare a thought for us long-time sufferers of CF, not many of us feel like we’re suffering and most of us quite enjoy it I think.
Like anything, once you get used to it and learn to work around it, it isn’t too bad…it’s not always easy, but it isn’t fatal either, so don’t be too afraid to catch it!!
For us those blue and yellow t-shirts provide us with a sense of belonging, a sense that we are part of something great.
For us, there isn’t anything as soothing as some good toe-tapping papare music or a beautiful cover drive!!
So yes…we warn you that it’s contagious, it’s in the air and you might catch it from us sooner or later….but we aren’t sorry…instead we welcome you to our midst, come on!! Join the party! Lets cheer our boys as they try once again to bring that cup home!!