Fixing The Match
The first Time I heard the phrase ‘match fixing’ was from a teenager soon after our long-admired heroes of cricket put the country to shame, at least if one were to believe recent press reports. I was watching an inter-colony cricket match in the park opposite my house; one of the young fellows was consistently playing poorly, when his exasperated team captain yelled, “What’s wrong with you?” Another member promptly replied, “I bet he’s fixed the match!”
Up to now, I had generally associated the term ‘fix’ with repairing, or putting things right – a positive, cheery outcome. This other ‘fixing’, however, must be quite an old practice because an established dictionary gives the colloquial meaning of ‘fix’ as `to arrange (a matter) dishonestly, or to bribe or silence (a person)’.
Well, from the recent media headlines, it certainly appears as though the very stalwarts of the game have exploited this meaning of the term to the fullest. It is not so important what investigations will reveal or what the final verdict is. The damage has already been done, the disease has crept into the game. The sporting spirit has been overcome by blind and mindless greed.
The basic purpose of a game, or sport, is to keep the body supple and strong, the mind keen and alert, the spirit ever striving, and to enable better human relationships. It is sport that encourages and educates us to achieve success and face failure, with head held high and feet firmly on the ground. It is sport that releases bottled-up emotions and creates a balanced character and personality. This is true not only for the sportsperson alone but holds good for the countless spectators, commentators, journalists, and in fact, anybody who has some interest in a game. The impact of ‘the game’ is evident from the. moment a match begins, particularly an international one. Shopkeepers sit glued to their television sets, mindless of the customer who, incidentally, is equally interested in the outcome! Many office-goers avail of hard-earned leave so that they do not miss out on a single moment of the match, and youngsters can be seen out early, eager to imitate their heroes in the field. In fact, in times of diversity and friction, sport stands fast as an important unifying factor, binding and bonding people across continents, religions and generations. There is no hope for sport if the very captains of the game stoop to conquer, or rather, to lose. They must rise above temptation and keep intact the spirit of the game by playing to the best of their ability, regardless of whether they win or lose. They are the role models for millions of young and old fans throughout the world who long to follow in their footsteps with pride.