Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

Sports and passion have always gone hand in hand. Indeed, what makes any sport fun to play and watch is the passion with which we do so. When our team wins or loses, our happiness or disappointment can go along with that, which is fine as long as we retain a grip on the fact that players and coaches are human and fallible. Sometimes they make mistakes. But sports are, after all, only a game, right?

Tell that to Pakistan’s cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, who was apparently murdered the day after his team lost a humiliating game to Ireland and was knocked out of the World Cup Cricket tournament that is taking place right now in the West Indies. Most of us in the U.S. are oblivious to cricket, a sport in the vein of baseball (though cricket fans would probably be angry at me for comparing the two). But it is hugely popular around the world.

And cricket fans are just as passionate about their sport as soccer fans are. But this passion can cross a line. Soccer is famous for murders and stampedes when teams lose. And players from various cricket teams have faced ominous threats from fans when they’ve lost a game.

And now we have Woolmer’s murder. Though most in the cricket world believe no one on Pakistan’s team has anything to do with it, all the team members have been fingerprinted. I’m thinking it was a crazy fan, but only time will tell. It’s truly sad.

Do you pray for your team to win? Is your mood affected if your team loses? Do you schedule your life around a game? That’s all fine. But I’m with columnist Sambit Bal, who wrote in cricinfo.com that “If a game starts taking lives, there is something sickeningly wrong with it.”

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