Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bad Michael time!

A bad Michael day. It looks like all possible sport misfortunes have come bundled up together. First Michael Schumacher. Now Michael Ballack. Two sportsmen I truly respect.

I felt Michael added a dash of fun to an otherwise dull and drab business-as-usual Monaco Grand Prix. Technically race control said - 'Safety car in this lap'. Usually that means that the safety car would be pulled in in that lap. Besides, there were green flags waving which implied people would race to the finish line. It is true that overtaking behind a safety car is not allowed. But the race engineers in the pit garage were seeing the goings on and they got their information from race control. So how could that be all wrong? And we're speaking of Ross Brawn for God's sake. A man who built the man and the machine combination - Michael at Ferrari. He could not have gotten it all wrong! And, a penalty should be commensurate with the error. The lines were murky and overtaking behind a safety car is disallowed because it can lead to damage to man and machine! But here, the road was clear, the lights were out, the green flags were waving and it was an itsy bitsy overtaking manoeuvre. It could not have hurt anyone. The penalty - 20 seconds meaning, 12th position, meaning all points lost. Last time when Lewis Hamilton raced Vettel in the pits, that was dangerous. It could have knocked both cars out, and hurt the pit crew! The penalty - a stern warning. Now that according to me is unfair. Everyone in the sport should really be treated equally - be he an F1 legend or a rookie! Fine, if Michael was violating article 1.2.4. whatever, he perhaps needs a penalty. But commensurate with the crime committed.

And now the second Michael. I remember the Euro cup final where despite a bleeding brow Ballack came out to play for his team. He is a great captain indeed, responsible for getting Germany all the way up to the Euro 2008 finals! Pity the day didn't work out his way when the team lost to Spain. He is also a guy chosen by no one but Pele as one of the 100 greatest players of all time! With hardly a few weeks to go before the World Cup in South Africa, what has happened to him is terrible! Knocked out by injury sustained in an FA cup final. Well, Chelsea won the EPL and the FA cup. But at what price? And the injury was caused by a tackle in response to a slap! Again, let's have some equanimity here please! Ballack slapped Boateng. Wrong. Ok. But the tackle that resulted in such a bad injury was certainly not a commensurate rejoinder! A slap will tingle for a few minutes, the hurt ego will perhaps tingle a bit longer. But that's all. It can't stop you from playing in a tournament as critical as the World Cup! I sincerely hope that this isn't the end. For I remember how Batistuta cried in the 1998 FIFA World Cup after being knocked out by the Netherlands. For it was his last ever World Cup match. We all also remember the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where Roberto Baggio's penalty shot went over the cross bar handing over the championship victory to Brazil. FIFA World Cup matches that happen once in 4 years are too precious to let go of. And certainly not in such a painful way as in the case of Ballack.

All in all a terrible time for all Michael fans. Hope this is it, though and the happy Michael times come back soon!

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