How Sports Help us Escape our Stressful Lives

My mother always says that there is nothing more peaceful than watching sports. She says that sports help us forget our worries as we get lost in the game. She, 70, and my father, 73, watch every tennis tournament that is broadcasted on television besides football and cricket. The other day she told me that she had wanted to watch the Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Juventus but she couldn’t stay awake. I disgracefully uttered “oh!” feeling so old and ‘unhappening’.

Every conversation with her will have a mention of Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray (Federer has supposedly won enough). My father has a wider interest and enjoys watching golf, billiards, martial arts, wrestling, and even kabaddi. So basically, he can watch any sport except that he says cricket is a waste of time.

Ever since I can remember, my brothers had been involved in ‘real’ sports. Between them, they played tennis, table tennis, badminton, football, cricket, and basketball. My parents themselves were (still are) very fond of sports and had always encouraged them in whatever sports they took up. I believe there were very rare occasions when they would stop anybody from going for a game, and my brothers would play almost every afternoon and the whole day on holidays. Eventually everybody had to give up playing mostly because of studies but the love for any sports is still obvious in all of us.

I personally didn’t take up any sports at any time because I’ve always been so stiff and shy but I always comforted myself by thinking that every sport needs audience and I am a good spectator like my mother. She was a working mother with 7 children and every time one of those kids had a match, she tried to be present in the stadium or ground to cheer. It didn’t matter what time the match took place and it didn’t matter if it was the bitterest night of Kohima winter. She would fill up her long flask (around 2 liters capacity) with tea and carry it with snacks in a basket. I was young so I usually had no idea about the games or who was winning or losing but I remember sitting on metal, wooden, plastic and concrete chairs or benches and of course grass, sipping on tea and enjoying the snacks. One time, we were watching a cricket match and one of my brothers’ friend hit the ball out of the boundary and it came straight towards us and smashed her flask. She was joyous because it was a ‘sixer’.

It was a pleasure for my parents to host viewing parties for my brothers’ friends whenever an important match was to happen, mostly football and cricket. Nothing special or lavish, just watch the game, have a cup of tea, and leave when it is over. They wouldn’t mind taking the television outside and play it from the porch so then all of us would be sitting under the stars and watching the game like we had no problems at all. Very often they (mostly mother) would stay up at night along with my brothers to watch games and the environment in the house prior to the match would be of excited anticipation.

Even today, when they are watching any game, we can see their bodies taking a more relaxed form. My father will have a smile on his face throughout the match while my mother will scold or praise the players, and laugh aloud from time to time. Watching a match with them is definitely one of my top favorite things in life. Living so far from them, most times I worry for them. Its easier to worry in the day time because I can call them up and clear my doubts. Worrying at nighttime is much more stressful and most nights I console my heart by imagining them watching a beautiful game of tennis.

A cricket match in progress in Latasil Ground, Guwahati


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