Never before has any single event transformed a nation of so many disparate cultures and colors under one color – Blue!!Yes folks, blue is officially the new black!! From ads exhorting you to bleed blue to having the Indian team picture posted on any blue surface worth noticing, there has not been any shortage of innovative ways to use the blue color during this world cup. Sport has been always been viewed as having the potential to unite people, a classic example being the brilliant movie on the World Cup winning South African Rugby team – The Invictus.
Add a multiplying factor in double digits for the India population and you have the multi billion $ spectacle, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011!! Why do some sports evoke such emotions that no other event does? Interestingly, on one side you have sports icons like Vishwanathan Anand, who have tirelessly worked for decades to bring glory to the country in the world arena, and on the other side you have a mercurial Indian team, habitual under-achievers, always promising more than they have delivered. If that is the case, why does cricket simply cast away into oblivion some of those seemingly un-paralleled acts of individual brilliance like chess? The answer could possibly lie somewhere in the muddy heartlands of remote Indian villages, where more than 50 homes in a village might share a TV, tuned into Dooradarshan for a WC match, praying for an Indian victory and uninterrupted electricity with the same fervor. (P.S. For chess, the lack of TV viewership could also be due to the nature of the sport itself, even if you love playing chess(I do), watching it on television for hours can be quite torturous!)
Cricket has always been a sport watched best in company, unless you are the type who wants to nurse a drink at your home and watch the game unfold, with your own dose of cricket “wisdom” dished out to your better half or worse the ceiling(if the better half is sensible enough to avoid you in those days)!! The amount of camaraderie that a good match can evoke has to be seen to be believed, you will see people from all walks of life – from the street hawker selling cheap car accessories to his prospective customer in a swanky BMW – behave like giggling toddlers in the face of an Indian victory.
Interestingly, in this big carnival which has been World Cup 2011, there are few people who have had nightmares handling the situation. Those are organizations, which “unfortunately” have to work on the days of a cricket match – and the problem becomes manifold when the men in blue are playing. Try telling your team with a straight face on the day of an India-Pakistan semi final that it is a “normal” working day and they should all go about their jobs with professionalism!! Good luck with that approach!! Where do you go from there? First, ask yourself the question, if all of your team members did not work for half a day, would your business crumble? The answer would be no in most cases (if the answer is yes, you have bigger problems than a WC match anyways!). Having done that, ask yourself, what is the fun part of watching a match? I think for most people, it would be good company (possibly good beer to go with), lots of noise/cheering, large screen TV and decent food. Is that too much to arrange for the team? I think not!! So go ahead and just do that!! Convert an office cafeteria into a mini venue, hire a large LCD or projector, a decent set of speakers, order good food & drinks, invite the team and let them have fun. If your office has boring rules like, no loud noises/alcohol in your premises, you could book a large place outside for the team with the same setup. You could possibly achieve more out of such a session than most formal “team talk” sessions and more importantly, earn the team’s unwavering loyalty(Note: Managers who have tried this approach have got exceptionally good performance reviews in 360 degree feedback sessions!!Coincidence?:-))
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try this next time you have a great “Must See” match.
In retrospect, I should have posted this at least one day before the India – Pak SF, but then again with viewership of IPL expected to rival that of the WC, there could still be time for trial and error..;-)
Do write into us if your teams are doing something special to watch the WC matches, might be useful for all 🙂