Before you start on your own sappy version of that fateful Wednesday, know that there are no greater patriots in the world than a bunch of A-level students. Nothing you say, not even worn-out stories of how you wept for the team, or how you’re actually related to Shahid Afridi, will compare to what we did for the Pakistan cricket team.
We messed up our chemistry practical, that’s what we did. And sociology, and history, and math and anything else we should have been studying in those nine hours.
We were glued to our screens and busy painting our faces, forgetting about enzymes and molecules, which was of course the rational thing to do during this battle of the nations.
It’s just that when Sachin appeared for his Man of the Match speech, we didn’t just scream and throw our bowl of popcorn at the TV in a fit of depression because we had lost - it was because his smiling Indian face was a reminder of all that we had missed out on. We weren’t getting a holiday tomorrow, and we weren’t getting a holiday on Monday (somehow winning this semi obviously meant we’d win the World Cup on Saturday too). We wouldn’t be able to go through our exams properly; couldn’t pin little Pakistan pins to the transparent pencil cases we have to use.
It was a little horrible actually. All month long, our teachers had begged us to stop staring obsessively at the green bands around our wrists. Cue: “Sir, my heart says Pakistan, but my mind says India.”
“I don’t care what your mind thinks beta, as long as it can solve these physics problems.”
It’s odd how cricket can obscure everything else that may be going on: exams, suicide bombs, Libya. Why shouldn’t it? We love the team. Fifty-two of my friends are attending ‘Shahid Bhai, we love you’ and ‘Proud to be Pakistani’ events on Facebook. We’re not huffing and puffing about match fixing like we always do - we’ve matured beyond that.
And that’s how we spent the rest of our week. “I googled Wahab Riaz images, and he’s actually really cute” - a perfectly normal fact to gush about just five minutes before a physics final. Or while you attempt to start math past papers, your Facebook newsfeed is littered with conciliatory “Don’t worry, our boiiiz are still better-looking.”
Cricket fever has hit us all over again. Exams? What exams? Our team’s great, our country is great, and all you other nations out there just wish you had our Boom Boom t-shirts. Pakistan Zindabad!
The writer is a first-year A’ Level student and can be reached at [email protected]
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2011.