Welcome to a blog about my experience of attending, immersing and experiencing the spectacle that is the Indian Premier League.
What was the event?
Mumbai Indians VS Sunrisers on the 2nd of May. As part of the Indian Premier League this was game number 51 for them.
What happened at the event?
I mean I really dont know what to say apart from wow. The energy, the sound (until 10pm), the match (no idea what the mathematical equations actually meant) and the friendly people who welcomed me into the cricket family. I loved each moment. Cricket is the opposite from boring because it’s not just a sport or a community – it’s a family. It’s a part of culture. It allows people to be part of something quite special. It allows moments of joy and happiness. But the sheer passion it brings out in people is amazing. It’s the way people socialise but it’s the way people live.
Sport – is a beautiful tool. And at my 28th event I experienced the joy and beauty of what it was like to sit and watch the sport. Sitting in my seat A41 but I sat in 42 because no one sits in there seat I was met with colours, blue shirts, flags and cheerleaders. The IPL 14 years ago introduced a “sports entertainment” element to the sport and since then, according to one of my knowledgable new cricket friends, the sport scaled it back. The nightclub music was being drowned out by a MC who I think just enjoyed to dance and screaming into the mic. The cheerleaders had set routines and the fans were just flying their free flag at every opportunity they had.
Getting to this point was tricky. To purchase a ticket was a 2 day process because I was not in India and did not have an Indian credit card but I was determined I needed to get to an IPL match. But I succeeded eventually. Then on the day arriving to the wrong train station I was slightly lost. But then I saw lines and lines of police. The army also were present and the place was basically a locked down fort. Literally there was no chance of getting in the stadium without a ticket. The security was that tight you literally were not allowed to take in anything but a phone and a wallet (and your ticket – which was paper). Literally that was it. Below is the prohibited list of items – I think some of you may be interested in that including No coins. It really is very tight and felt extremely safe.
The warm up of the match was about firing up the energy of those attending. But there was absolute no need as the stadium was already hot – and this was just the humidity of 33 degrees. Starting at 8pm I thought the match would be over by 10pm – Nop by 1130pm the match was still playing. I left slightly early because I didn’t want to get caught in the stampede of people leaving and plus I was 25km away from the stadium.
The match was entertaining do not get me wrong but the best bit was meeting those around me. I was able to be part of the family that was the Mumbai Indians. I was able to see, experience and enjoy the event with new friends. They were my advisors and it was really special to hear there take of the sport and there interest in why I was at a cricket match (so thanks again).
Anything else happen at the event?
I want to focus on crickets celebrity explosion. Everywhere in India cricket is played. On the beach, in the street, in organised cricket grounds – in whatever place that it can be. It’s played by all social classes and played by children in bare foot and those in Nike’s latest products. But really the sport only needs two things – a ball and a bit of wood. It’s accessible for all. It’s easy to play and a way of locals come together. It’s part of the culture. So to sit and observe, immerse and be part of the pinnacle of cricket tournaments I’m honoured. But I don’t know whether I agree with one part of the tournament. The millions of rupees that players are paid. I don’t agree with sport wages – point blank especially soccer – but the reason I say this is sports star then forget what there doing and become an overpaid and over egoistical “made” celebrity. I saw it. I saw the fans adoring the players in ways that are common in a lot of sports but this was much more passionate. But I just didn’t get the feeling the sport star appreciated it in return. People spend there savings on this match, they spend money that should not be used for cricket – to just get a glimpse of their idols. For me – sport stars should be more grounded when put on a pedal stool. But suppose – that’s just sport and that’s just my opinion and observation.
Here is some interesting event facts:
- at 10pm all music must be turned off. This is due to the restrictions put in place because it is in a residential area. No announcements were made. Nothing. Literally the only noise was observing the fastest Mexican wave I have ever seen going around the stadium – I think it could have went to Mexico and back that’s how fast it was going.
- Sustainability – a short emotional film was made about saving the planet and not to use plastic – however on each seat lay a free plastic stick with a nylon flag. So for me it kind of counter argues the argument getting point forward by the Indian Premier League. Is sustainability just a tick box for them at this point?
- Food Hawkers – The food hawkers we’re squeezing through rows with the boxes to sell everything from samosas, dominos pizza, popcorn and fruit juice (which was put in paper cups – no objects that could be thrown on the picture allowed).
One thing to take away?
I loved it. I loved everything the cricket match was. But the IPL in my opinion can change slightly there sustainability outlook to make it – not just about a video with a few of the cricket players endorsing but actually the operation elements to benefit this world for the future.
More about this amazing event in my book published next year…