WRITING STYLE: 5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 5/5
Though hockey is our national game, India is a country crazy about cricket. We can never have enough of it. Most of us don’t watch soccer or hockey or track games or athletics.
Most of us haven’t even heard of baseball or ice-hockey or rugby. It is always cricket. If you turn on the sports channel even at 3 am, you’ll be treated to a game of cricket, and no matter how old the match is, we watch it.
Baseball and cricket are cousins.
The basic fundamental of the game is the same; a player throws a ball, and another player has to hit it. Why then, when we are so strong at cricket, we don’t even have one professional baseball team?
J.B. Bernstein’s Million Dollar Arm is the result of this very same question.
“They were locked in and ready to go. About to face a crowd of pro scouts, the two were far from finished projects, but to look at them, you’d never guess that just a year before, they had never touched a baseball. Hell, a year ago, they didn’t even know what a baseball was.”
One night, while surfing the television, J.B. came across an Indian cricket match and the idea struck him – a country with one billion people, religiously following cricket, ought to have the potential to produce at least a few thousands of baseball pitchers with raw talent.
With this idea in mind he started a reality show in India – Million Dollar Arm – to scout for young unexplored talent who can be trained to become professional baseball pitchers.
His trip to India in itself is a comedy of sorts; right from the climate, to the chaos, the people, the system, and the airports, J.B.’s encounters are hilarious.
On the positive side, his reality show is a success and he discovers two talented youngsters – Dinesh and Rinku – who have the potential to become the first Indians to play professional baseball in America.
For Dinesh and Rinku, it is the first time they are holding a baseball.
So, will they be able to compete with people who have played baseball since their childhood; who have trained under professional coaches all their life?
Million Dollar Arm is an interesting read, and at times you can’t help but wonder at the pathetic condition of sports in our country where everything starts with cricket and ends with it.
With a population of one billion, there is a lot of raw potential out there which, if identified and groomed, can produce thousands of world-class athletes across all sports.
The story of Dinesh and Rinku should be an inspiration to all; not only to aspiring sportsmen but also the millions of other youngsters who dream of making it big in life.
What they have achieved for themselves and for India is indescribable, and it is shocking that many of us hadn’t even heard of them till now.
Million Dollar Arm is an amazing story of the human spirit which if ignited, and kept flaming, can achieve the unachievable.