My jaws were hurting from all the anxiety and stress held in there throughout the game and boy, was that a victory well deserved! I jumped, screamed and rolled in between, all by myself whilst watching yesterday’s world cup qualifier game between Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Whatever reactions I must have expressed certainly had a suiting remark from my daughter who looked up at me in the end and said “Mommy, are you a boy?” that had me think for a moment if that was the line I would have normally used on her.

When The New York Times first reported on our initial victory from the game( held in Sri Lanka, the closing sentence with traces of a judgmental tone albeit the truth under the circumstances had me a flinch a bit, when it said

“When the team bus finally reached its destination, halfway to the next round, Nima led his triumphant players toward their very modern reward: a visit to the KFC next to the team hotel.”

We have had late access to the internet and TV but I bet that hardly characterizes us as primitive creatures nuzzling noses in the Himalayan jungles. Our attitudes and our way of lives, despite the lack of modern facilities, has always been far open and modern in comparison to that of those in some of the developed parts of the world.

But our boys did us proud yesterday and proved the rest of the world that we have come far and very fast at that! Imagine what these bunch of Bhutanese teenagers would do if they were fully engaged in practicing football, as teams in other countries are, with professional coaching and well-paying salary packages, without having to worry about the other part of their lives that include studies and jobs.

Having experienced 90 minutes of tumultuous emotions even as an observer, there is no doubt the huge stress and responsibilities that these boys must be shouldering considering the whole nation was betting on them to win this time, to emerge from the image of world’s worst players. It’s a mind game, this game of football, where players must stay focused yet fast and strategic, and is certainly not for the faint hearted. After all as they say fortune favours the bold; it applies even in the game of football. The Sri Lankan team gaining momentum in the second half, Team Bhutan’s three misses and a canceled goal had me nearly have a stroke but in the end, all those were for nothing.

Commentaries during the game were mostly agreeable but words such as “capitalizing on that chance” sounds more businesslike. Also, it was evident that they weren’t familiar with the players when they made mistakes like “Someone from Bhutan team is injured…looks like No. 4” and then the injured person stands up to reveal the No. 20 on his Jersey.

Reading through the NYT’s report on yesterday’s game at had me relive my experience yesterday that I begin to wonder how such a thing as a game of football can create so much emotion, team spirit and oneness of the people in a country. As one of the lam’s in Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse’s movie “The Cup” says “why is everyone fighting over a ball..wouldn’t it solve the problem if we gave everyone a ball each?”
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