Saturday, July 31, 2004


MIND GAMES

Itís all Greek to me
Aditya Rishi

On June 19, the goal was to square up with Beckham, especially after what he did in Euro 2004. The whole of Europe plays football, but thereís only one nation that plays cricket. The English are not comfortable playing spin on a turning track, especially if the opposition is bowling googlies, and if you bring a googly into English soccer, you bamboozle the whole of India. It seems this is what I did on June 19, when I bolwed you that ball of the century.

To refresh your memory, I play that episode again:

Logic says England should have won; magic ensured that two Zinedine Zidane goals in added time at the end of the match gave France an incredible win.

Beck, incredible Beck, how could he miss that penalty! England are still very good and it looks theyíre going to go far in the tournament. For that, theyíll have to work on the mental aspect. This is what David Beckham is thinking as we enter the English dressing room.

The locker-room layout is rather smart. It comprises 12 squares, one for each member of the team and the coach. The squares are labelled according to the shirt number of each member.

David Beckham: "My heart was not in the game." Sven-G`D6ran Eriksson, England coach: "I think it was your mind. Because your mind is somewhere else, your aggression is no longer calculated." "I disagree with that." "I see, now you disagree with my views. Everyone, please come here." "Thatís Beckhamís square; itís a prime number. No one comes in." "Not anymore. We are all going to divide your square."

"I alone was not responsible for that defeat." "No, of course not. Frank Lampard, Paul Robinson and John Terry were equally to blame. I am going to ask for their squares to be divided as well. Thatíll leave you out." "Thereís no chance of that happening."

Like I said, sometimes magic happens. Beckham is indeed left out and he canít think of a reason for that. "Put your mind into the game and youíll get the answer," says the coach. Lampard: "That was close. Maybe we should look for a new job, as classical musicians, perhaps. If kicked out, Iíll be Mozart." Robinson: "Iíll be Beethoven." Terry: "Iíll be Pavarotti." Beckham puts on his sunglasses, gives the dressing room one dirty look and says: "Iíll be Beck." Why did Beckham have to stand out? Put your mind in the game, thatís your goal of the week.

Coming back into the game, I think now youíve had a total recall. You still didnít see that coming, Iím sure. Iíll play that again for you, real slow this time. Hereís that googly which you couldnít read: The square of any prime number greater than 3 leaves a remainder of 1 when divided by 12. For England, Terry plays in shirt number 5, Beck in 7, Lampard in 11 and Robinson in 13. If you have been watching Euro 2004, you know it.

I know what you are thinking. I can understand the anger that you are now trying to suppress, but seriously, I expected you to show some sportsmanís spirit here. I know no one has ever bowled a googly in English soccer before, but hey, thereís always a first time for everything. Keep playing in your extra time. 

(Write at Mind Games, The Tribune, or aditya@tribunemail.com)

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