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The cover story this time is the Annual Sports and Cultural Festival of the Sai educational institutions that is celebrated every year on 11th January. This is a gala event that commences at about 7 A.M. in the Hill View stadium when Bhagavan comes in procession, led by Sai Geetha, the Institute Brass Band, students bearing standards, etc. That is how Darshan is given that morning. The stadium gets packed even before sunrise, and it is truly a glorious sight.

But there is much more to the festival than just the procession. When Baba reaches the dias, He gets down and is escorted up to His seat, and that is when the show gets on the road as they say. There is now a wonderful march past, with almost all students of all campuses taking part, smartly attired and all that. After that, the Institute Flag is ceremoniously hoisted by the Revered Chancellor who of course is Bhagavan Baba. The participants then take an oath rather like athletes do during the Olympics, and after that the proceedings get under way. In the morning, the three Campuses of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning take turns and stage group items of various kinds that range all the way from martial arts and cultural pageants to thrilling acrobatics and fun items of the type one sees during carnivals. The afternoon session is reserved almost exclusively for the children of the Primary School, and invariably they steal the hearts of everyone. Elsewhere, many photos are presented, giving you a glimpse of the atmosphere. We also offer the thrilling story of what happened on the morning of sports day 1999.

Now a few words about the general atmosphere etc. Normally, a sports event is one where participants compete with each other. Here, on the other hand, there is co-operation rather than competition. This approach is deliberate. These days, there is too much emphasis on competition, forgetting the basic objectives of sports. Next, the items are so organised that every student of the entire Institute has some role or the other to play. While some are visible on the ground offering displays of various kinds, others work silently in the background as facilitators - there are so many chores that need to be done behind the scenes, and these boys and girls willingly do it.

How come they don't want to be seen performing before the public and earn their applause? The answer is simple. Every single student and staff member is interested in only one thing - pleasing Swami, and for this they are prepared to do anything. They realise that this would mean that different people would have to do different chores in keeping with their individual abilities and this everyone cheerfully accepts. It is all so automatic here that few realise how remarkable such co-operation is.

How come the boys and girls are able to co-operate like this, submerging their individual ego? The answer is simple - it is hostel life that prepares them for such co-operation. In the Institute, hostel residence is compulsory and few realise what an impact this makes on the students. Elsewhere, college students can enjoy the luxury of single rooms and cots to sleep on. Here, the boys and girls live in dormitories, sharing the room with many and sleeping on the floor. In every room the mix is carefully arranged, bringing together students from different parts of the country, speaking different languages, from different backgrounds, etc. Pretty soon the room mates know how to mesh smoothly with each other. That is what co-operation is all about, and Swami's students learn this in a quite natural way. Indeed this co-operation is visible not only on sports day but on every occasion when students have to work together, for example during festivals or Grama Seva.

 CLIVE EXPRESSES HIS VIEWS ON SPORTS There is a reason why I am mentioning all this. Time there was when sports reminded one of character and other such values that one cherished in life. Nowadays, sports has been transformed into something else - it is mass entertainment, made possible with big money. And there are all the attendant evils for everyone to see. Once upon a time, cricket used to be considered a game of gentlemen. Indeed it used to be said that the leaders of England were made on the playing fields of Eton and Harrow besides which there was the famous phrase - It's not cricket, meaning it is not fair and a done thing. All that has gone and cricket now is not only big money but seems plagued with scandals from time to time. The attitude of spectators too has changed and the media is in no small measure responsible for this. Where football is concerned, there is worry about hooliganism every time a certain country plays its rivals.

Some of you may remember that recently we did a feature on The Unity Cup One-day International Cricket Match. At the end of the match, during the closing ceremonies, two important speeches were made, one by Maestro Sunil Gavaskar who was the driving spirit behind the match and the other by Clive Lloyd of the West Indies, who also took a an active part in organising the match. Transcripts of those speeches follow. Gavaskar said:

Bhagavan, the many dignitaries here today, ladies and gentlemen!

For me it is a unique privilege, to welcome all of you here at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium. You have been a witness to a unique match, a match where you saw two of the fastest scorers of one day century, Sanat Jayasurya and Saheed Afridi, opening the batting together. I can't think of many an occasion when you could find these two fantastic players opening the batting together. And it goes to show that through sport there can be unity amongst countries.

The theme of this game has been precisely that, to promote unity amongst countries through sport, to get the countries to believe in a sporting spirit, to play the game of life as a sport, where there will be winners and there will be losers. But, at the end of the day it is how you play the game which is very, very important.

I am delighted to welcome also some of the legendary figures of the cricketing world here. To my right is Mr. Hanif Mohammed [of Pakistan]. There have been plenty of little masters but the original little master was Hanif saab! To Hanif's right is Zahir Abbas a man whom Indian cricket lovers know quite a lot about. And on to Bhagavan's right, is Clive lloyd, the West Indian captain, the most successful captain in the history of the game. And to his right is another left-hander, Alvin Kallicharan.

May I now request Mr. Clive Lloyd to say a few words?

That was the speech of Sunil Gavaskar, brief but just right for the occasion. Sunil is not only a master batsman but very good at many other things, like acting as master of ceremonies, for example. And now, let us what Clive Lloyd said on that occasion.


Sai Baba, Your Excellencies, fellow cricketers, ladies and gentlemen.

First I must tell you that I have a great affinity with India and Indian cricket. My first test match was played in India, my first test match as captain was also played in India. So, it should be no surprise when I say that I have a great affinity with India.

When Sunny asked me to be here for this game, I had to say yes. Whenever he asks, it is a command performance!

So I am pleased to be here, to witness this great spectacle, to see this wonderful stadium come to fruition, for which we have a lot of people to thank. But I think it would be remiss of me to do so because I might leave some names out. To all those people who have been involved, I must say: you have done a marvellous job in a very short time.

 SPORTS FOR UNITY The world of sports in a developing nation is an important conduit for the positive energies of our youth. Sports teaches discipline. Sports provides challenges. Sports creates opportunities. Sports now transcends social borders and often provides the foundation for wholesome human development.

To all the young people here and all the aspiring young crickters, I can say to you, you must know that you have been blessed with special skills. Your talent is a gift from God, what you do with that talent would be your offering to God and gift to humanity. Do not take your abilities for granted. Use them to great advantage. To do so, you must supplement your natural skills with education.

There is no substitute for education. A complete education, will complement your cricketing skills, and provide you with a basis for personal development. That in turn will enhance your career.  SPORTS FOR GLOBAL PEACE

As you might well know, 90 % of cricket at advanced levels is played above the shoulders. It is one's mental approach and suitable application to the game that separates the average player from the great player.

In his well known book, BEYOND THE BOUNDARY, historian C.L.R. James wrote with deep conviction about the importance of mental attitude. The successful man of the future will be a man of intelligence, with an imaginative approach, combined with the attribute of mental toughness, and the special ability to be mentally prepared for situations, even before they develop.

In closing, I will urge you all to improve every aspect of your game, especially your education.

As someone once said, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary! Thank you!

Sunil Gavaskar and Clive Lloyd belong to the older generation. I wonder what the stars of today would say when they retire and step down into ordinary life. Right now, most of them seem to be too busy making money. What a tragedy that almost everywhere in the world sport has moved away from character building to money and fame, creating problems all over, including with regard to security. But if there is a Shangrila amidst all this it is here! We Hope you would reflect on some of these issues even as you browse through our feature on our Annual Sports day.



Volume - 2 Issue - 1 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004