They are no longer made.
I spent three years of my life listening to the above line almost every day.
Mrs Clarke, an extremely noble woman in whose house I lived as a paying guest in Dublin, used to utter this sentence to show her respect for people whose nobility and humility she missed.
Her words came back to me, discussing state of sports in Pakistan over lunch, with my father a couple of days back.
My father was instrumental in making me madly in love with cricket, hockey, tennis, squash and all kinds of sports. At times to the dismay of my mother who would have loved my whole- hearted dedication to studies and books exclusively.
He needed a partner to share his sports joys and sorrows.
Our collective proud memories to date are Pakistan winning the cricket World Cup and Pakistan winning 1984 Olympics hockey title. Despite my preferred passion for cricket and Imran Khan, the hockey victory remains my childhood most proud moment.
The flag, the anthem, the green shirts….even today it brings tears.
Alas those memories are becoming painful.
Hockey faces extinction. Squash is extinct. Cricket lives on oxygen.
Soccer ……. never had a present or future.
Athletics……… not in my lifetime have I seen glories.
A country of 170 million people does not have any sports prospects. There is no future!
How is it possible?
At the lunch table as we discussed. My father recalled the days when there used to be nurturing of sports talent at school and college level.
We have schools, colleges and universities today. Why do we not have tournaments? We do have sports seats. Where do these sports seats holders sportsmen and sportswomen go?
Why do Beaconhouse, City School, Educationists, Grammar Schools not produce sportsmen or sports women? Why do government schools not have some programmes for nurturing sportsmen and sports women?
Why has this escaped the interest of our extremely creative CM Shahbaz Shariff?
We all know we have millions of frustrated youth. Unemployment is rampant. Can no one think of a plan to channelise capitalise youth talent into creating sports genius?
As we discussed,over lunch, solutions. My father had a solution.
The only man who can transform Pakistan sports scene is Imran Khan. I tell you he should leave politics and become the Chairman of the Pakistan Sports board. He has the vision and the commitment that others do not. His talk about domestic cricket was way to sustained cricket glory. He had the traits that Nur Khan had. …… unfortunately just like we now do not have sportsmen as classy and elegant as his generation, we do not have dedicated honest visionaries.
I disagree. Imran Khan need not leave politics but what he and others including politicians, educationists, corporates and sports lovers have to do is to think, plan and do something to revive sports in Pakistan.
We are joy starved nation. All we have had over the last many years, have been few sporting glories to keep us smiling in the face of depression and deprivation.
Imagine our pursuit for sporting happiness, we even dance at Pakistan defeating Zimbabwe!
Till we put our sports act together, many like me and my father will cling to the memories of sports legends, who to borrow from Mrs Clare are no longer made.
They must however be made, a handful in a country of millions maybe definitely!