Written by Umair Khan, Co-Founder and CEO SecretBuilders.com
A friend reminded me of 25th March and asked some of us to complete the sentence “18 years ago today…”
18 years ago today, I was standing on the MIT bridge over Charles River. It was shortly after five o’clock in the morning and not even the St Patty’s Day celebrations from a week ago had thawed the March freeze. I had stopped around the 200 Smoot* mark on my way back to my dorm. All around was snow and frozen silence.
About 7000 miles east, over a hundred million people were “dancing in absolute joy” in the hot afternoon sun, having just lived the greatest 8 hours in Pakistan sports history**.
I had spent the past 8 hours in a dorm room with Northeastern students who subscribed to the one cable company carrying the World Cup on pay-per-view. Among very hospitable, relative strangers studying for their Chem. exams, I had watched Pakistan’s limp start of 22/2 in 8 overs, Imran and Miandad’s fifties, Inzamam and Wasim’s blistering hits, Botham’s reaction after being caught behind, Mushtaq’s googly to Hicks, Aaqib running around after catching Gooch, Allan Lamb being cleanup up by Wasim Akram (“and perhaps, so too England”), Lewis bowled first ball by Wasim, Rameez taking the final catch, Miandad hugging Imran with a Pakistani flag in hand. This being before Dish, Willow TV, and Cricinfo, I was one of the lucky few to see the match live on TV in Boston. This being finals week at Northeastern, I had seen it all in relative silence, all war-cry’s and whoops muffled into mute fist pumps.
I had then started to walk back across the river to my dorm in Cambridge. On the bridge, I had stopped and stood in gentle, pre-dawn snowfall. With no one in earshot, I screamed out 8 hours of joy, agony, elation, prayers, curses, and suspense – but mostly joy – in the highest decibels my lungs could emit. I would pause to catch my breath and then start screaming madly again. I screamed out Imran’s consecutive sixes against Bedi in Karachi, Murray and Roberts last wicket stand in the ‘75 World Cup, Sarfraz’s 7 wickets for 1 run in Australia, Vishwanath’s “well-left” clean bowled in Karachi, Pakistan’s loss to Australia in the ‘87 World Cup, Miandad’s 6 in Sharjah.
18 years ago today, I stood and screamed and screamed, on a bridge across the Charles. Then, quietly carrying my minute of ear-splitting joy, I walked back to my dorm.
* The MIT bridge is 364.4smoots + 1 ear long: http://web.mit.edu/spotlight/smoot-salute/
** 1992 world cup highlights and song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-mW2tmM45g
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