Thursday, May 28, 2009

Champions League and the IPL

I dont follow football, in fact detest club football. the exceptions i make are for international football.

champions league 2009 was a matchup between two giants in european football and had the potential to be a humdinger of a match with two of the world's best players going at each other.

one team lived upto its billing and the other didnt. one man lived upto his billing as the greatest footballer on the planet currently and the other came close.

football is a stupid game if you think about it and is designed for failure. what can be more awkward than 22 men chasing a small ball around a park? yet when barcelona play as they did yesterday with messi, iniesta and xavi dominating the show, one can only marvel at the fluidity and ease with which 11 players can mesh together. then one realises why this is the most followed sport on earth.

a last point. yesterday's final was played between two clubs with contrasting ownership. one, owned by hardnosed american businessmen and arguably the most successful football club in the world. the other owned by the supporter members of the club who elect a management team every few years.

guess who won? righteous football or what!

for whatever reason i imagined that ipl 2009 would not be as successful as ipl 2008. i have been proven wrong.

ipl2008 astonished me with its vision. given that i dont associate indian businesses with vision (ipl is a business and most indian businesses are short termist), and that ipl 2008 was conceived, planned and executed in less than a year, the foresight in its structure (mandatory number of players under a certain age for example) amazed me.

ipl 2009 has gone one step further in its ability to be creative/innovative/make its own rules. i cant think of a single national sporting event that was transported lock, stock and barrel to a different country and run successfully there. not just innovation at its best, but also outsourcing! in stark contrast, the dinosaurs that run english cricket would prefer to choke on their prawn sandwiches than to contemplate minor change let alone execute major change.

ipl is also showing the world the australian legacy to world cricket. shane warne and adam gilchrist might not be single handedly responsible for their teams vicotories in the two ipls, but no one can deny their ability to bring together good teams on small budgets.

and lastly, i dont know if eddy grant's song, "give me hope jo'anna" was preplanned for the closing ceremony but it certainly was fitting for a nascent rule breaking sporting event.

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