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North Coast Section postseason football format remains intact

first_imgThe North Coast Section postseason format for football will remain intact after no motion was made to reduce the bracket size from 16 teams to eight at a special executive committee meeting on Friday afternoon.The 12-member committee held a teleconference to discuss a proposal that would extend the regular season one week to account for make-up games for teams unable to play due to the North Bay fires. NCS commissioner of athletics Gil Lemmon said he was surprised no motion was made, but he …last_img

Praise for new isiZulu paper

first_imgA Sunday Times isiZulu edition will hit the streets on 7 November. (Image: Bongani Nkosi)The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has applauded Sunday Times’ decision to publish versions in isiZulu to promote wider use of the country’s other official languages.Sunday Times, a national weekly newspaper owned by Avusa Media, will print and sell the isiZulu edition in KwaZulu-Natal province from 7 November 2010. The 32-page broadsheet will be called the Sunday Times Zulu Edition.“PanSALB believes that the idea will encourage other national media houses and other organisations to recognise the role of official languages in the country,” the organisation’s spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi said in a statement on 3 November.“This announcement deserves praise and our support,” Nkosi added.The Sunday Times Zulu Edition is a critical development that will “help in the preservation and promotion of our indigenous languages”, PanSALB said.Breaking into the marketSunday Times is hoping to penetrate the isiZulu readership market that’s currently dominated by Ilanga, Ilanga langeSonto, Isolezwe and Isolezwe ngeSonto. These newspapers are among the highest sellers in the country, although they are only distributed in KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of Gauteng.Isolezwe ngeSonto, the Sunday publication launched in 2008, recorded a 34% sales hike in the first quarter of 2010, selling about 71 219 copies a week – according to its owners, Independent Newspapers.Sunday Times said the new publication came about after market research, which indicated that there’s high demand for an additional isiZulu newspaper.Sunday Times Zulu Edition will have a strong focus on provincial politics, municipal developments, celebrity news and sport. It will sell for R8 (US$1.17), which is cheaper than the Sunday Times English version.Sunday Times’ KwaZulu-Natal bureau, where staff will be based, has been thoroughly prepared for the new venture. “We have already had several dry runs with a team of sub-editors translating stories and laying them out with Zulu headlines, said Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley in a statement.“We have established an operation dedicated to serving this edition in our KwaZulu-Natal bureau,” he added.The paper will be run by Avusa Media editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya, also former Sunday Times editor, until a new one starts in January 2011.Preserving indigenous languagesEnglish remains the dominant language in South African print media. Of the 10 other official languages, it’s only isiZulu and Afrikaans that have a presence in mainstream newspapers. The other official languages of the country are siSwati, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, isiNdebele, Xitsonga, Tshivenda and SePedi.PanSALB, a government organisation, is advocating for newspapers to be published in these languages as well to promote their usage. “We hope that in future, such efforts [like Sunday Times’] will be extended to other languages … ” said Nkosi.IsiZulu is the most widely spoken language in South Africa after English. According to PanSALB, it’s the home language of about 24% of South Africans, while about 50% of the country’s population understands it.Makhanya believes the venture will “play a positive role” in improving South Africans’ access to information.He sees the paper as Avusa’s way of developing the use of isiZulu. “We are extremely proud to be making a contribution to the growth of an indigenous language. This in no small way contributes towards us living up to our claim as ‘The paper for the people’.”The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has applauded Sunday Times’ decision to publish versions in isiZulu to promote wider use of the country’s other official languages.Sunday Times, a national weekly newspaper owned by Avusa Media, will print and sell the isiZulu edition in KwaZulu-Natal province from 7 November 2010. The 32-page broadsheet will be called the Sunday Times Zulu Edition.“PanSALB believes that the idea will encourage other national media houses and other organisations to recognise the role of official languages in the country,” the organisation’s spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi said in a statement on 3 November.“This announcement deserves praise and our support,” Nkosi added.The Sunday Times Zulu Edition is a critical development that will “help in the preservation and promotion of our indigenous languages”, PanSALB said.Breaking into the marketSunday Times is hoping to penetrate the isiZulu readership market that’s currently dominated by Ilanga, Ilanga langeSonto, Isolezwe and Isolezwe ngeSonto. These newspapers are among the highest sellers in the country, although they are only distributed in KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of Gauteng.Isolezwe ngeSonto, the Sunday publication launched in 2008, recorded a 34% sales hike in the first quarter of 2010, selling about 71 219 copies a week – according to its owners, Independent Newspapers.Sunday Times said the new publication came about after market research, which indicated that there’s high demand for an additional isiZulu newspaper.Sunday Times Zulu Edition will have a strong focus on provincial politics, municipal developments, celebrity news and sport. It will sell for R8 (US$1.17), which is cheaper than the Sunday Times English version.Sunday Times’ KwaZulu-Natal bureau, where staff will be based, has been thoroughly prepared for the new venture. “We have already had several dry runs with a team of sub-editors translating stories and laying them out with Zulu headlines, said Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley in a statement.“We have established an operation dedicated to serving this edition in our KwaZulu-Natal bureau,” he added.The paper will be run by Avusa Media editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya, also former Sunday Times editor, until a new one starts in January 2011.Preserving indigenous languagesEnglish remains the dominant language in South African print media. Of the 10 other official languages, it’s only isiZulu and Afrikaans that have a presence in mainstream newspapers. The other official languages of the country are siSwati, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Setswana, isiNdebele, Xitsonga, Tshivenda and SePedi.PanSALB, a government organisation, is advocating for newspapers to be published in these languages as well to promote their usage. “We hope that in future, such efforts [like Sunday Times’] will be extended to other languages … ” said Nkosi.IsiZulu is the most widely spoken language in South Africa after English. According to PanSALB, it’s the home language of about 24% of South Africans, while about 50% of the country’s population understands it.Makhanya believes the venture will “play a positive role” in improving South Africans’ access to information.He sees the paper as Avusa’s way of developing the use of isiZulu. “We are extremely proud to be making a contribution to the growth of an indigenous language. This in no small way contributes towards us living up to our claim as ‘The paper for the people’.”last_img read more

“Taj” GC1A91Y GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – January 17, 2010

first_img SharePrint Related”First Germany” GC77 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – April 4, 2011April 4, 2011In “Community””Down the Rabbit Hole” GCXQ5C GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – December 28, 2010December 27, 2010In “Community””Manuel Antonio National Park Geocache” GCJ7WN GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – June 27, 2011June 28, 2011In “Community” View from near “Taj” GC1A91YGeocaching doesn’t have to take a vacation when you’re on vacation. There are more than 1.2 million geocaches around the world, including “Taj” (GC1A91Y) on the doorstep of the crown jewel of Indian architecture.More than 200 geocachers visiting the Taj Mahal have logged a smiley on this cache.The difficulty 1.5, terrain one cache was hidden back in 2008. You need to do your homework to log a “found it” on this cache though. GPS receivers are not allowed past security. The cache owner, mapadula, suggests reading the hint on the page before beginning your treasure hunt.Geocachers from all over the world have logged GC1A91Y: from the Czech Republic to the United Kingdom to Canada.The cache container near the Taj MahalContinue your exploration with some of the most engaging geocaches from around the world. Explore all the Geocaches of the Week on our blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

What’s the Best Way to Insulate Crawl Space Walls?

first_imgThe best route, Holladay says, is to use an air-impermeable insulation — either rigid foam with seams that have been carefully sealed or closed-cell spray foam.In theory, mineral wool and a clean cement surface shouldn’t support the growth of mold, adds Charlie Sullivan. “But if it’s a retrofit,” he adds, “there will probably be enough gunk there that you can’t clean off that it will still support mold growth.”He suggests that if the homeowner’s objection to rigid foam insulation is the global warming impact of the blowing agents used to manufacture it, choosing expanded polystyrene (EPS) over extruded polystyrene (XPS) is a good option. “But if the homeowner is philosophically opposed to petrochemicals,” he adds, “that doesn’t help.”Another option, Sullivan says, would be to use a product called Foamglas, described by its manufacturer as “cellular glass.”Sullivan’s tip has Chappell-Dick on the phone with the manufacturer, and at first blush Foamglas looks like a great alternative. It comes in 2-by-4-foot sheets, has an R-value of 3.4 per inch, and costs $1.20 per board foot.Fiberglass batts are not really an optionWriting from upstate New York, AJ Builder says the method typical in his area is to frame a wall 1 or 2 inches away from the concrete basement wall, insulate it with fiberglass batts and cover the wall with foil-faced insulation. “No mold issues,” AJ Builder writes.“I don’t know if you are being deliberately provocative, or whether you honestly think that this is the appropriate way to insulate a basement wall,” replies Holladay. “The technique you describe is about two or three decades out of date, and there are plenty of reports of failures resulting from this technique.”“I know it’s wrong,” AJ Builder says. “I also have never seen mold or moisture. We build in gravel and glacier moraine, and poured concrete here is quite water-resistant from my experience. Just telling it like it actually is. No [Rockwool] use, no foam, all batts of fiberglass, done. Thousands.”Be that as it may, Chappell-Dick says, “wood and fiberglass ain’t gonna happen.”What about adding a waterproof membrane to the assembly?If the risk of using an air-permeable insulation is that moisture will condense on the cold, inside surface of the foundation wall, what about keeping the moisture out of the wall assembly with some kind of a barrier?“I’m asking about putting the liner on the warm side of an R-10 or R-15 insulation on the CMU stem wall,” Chappell-Dick says. “I presume the dew point then will always be inside the insulation, and thus no condensation. And thus I can use [Rockwool]?”He adds: “Overall goal: to condition a crawl space without using foam.”Holladay finds three flaws with this approach. The first is that air between the fibers of the Rockwool insulation is warm, humid indoor air, “not magic dry air.” Second, daily changes in temperature will create a “pumping action” that provides an air exchange between basement air and the air within the insulation, so that eventually humidity finds its way into the wall assembly.“The third problem,” Holladay adds, “is that the concrete is damp, so that it’s possible for the area between the concrete and the membrane to get damp from that direction, too. The membrane traps moisture, leading to mold.”But lots of basements are insulated with fiberglassRichard Beyer is not understanding why a wall assembly that keeps moisture out of the mineral wool insulation with a waterproofing membrane is going to result in mold.“This proposed system will work providing a back-up dehumidifier and sump pit is added to ward off the unknown here and/or the potential freak storm which could change the drainage dynamics of this property,” Beyer writes. “Did I misunderstand something here?”Further, Beyer says, AJ Builder is correct: many homes in New England have fiberglass installed against raw cement walls with no mold issues.“Sometimes published building science is not always correct,” Beyer says. “Hence, why it’s consistently rewritten when failures occur, no different than our building codes. Most writings come from manufacturers who are selling product and who are filling the pocket’s of specifiers with $$$$.”Beyer wonders why Holladay is suggesting foam insulation when the homeowner doesn’t want the material in the house, adding, “I should also note there are many failures of foam out there, too.”Chappell-Dick also is curious about why a wall assembly in which the mineral wood is isolated from the crawl space wall by a membrane would be a problem.“The most important thing I have learned on this site is that while pure building science is exact and completely unarguable, applied building science is far more nuanced,” Chappell-Dick adds. “And, frustratingly arguable. It’s not so simple as ‘managing moisture.’ We’re managing risk and clients’ expectations, all at the lowest price possible while somehow extracting an income.”Also, says Beyer, building science has been in error many times over the years. For example, galvanized steel joist hangers were once specified in coastal locations, but it’s since been replaced by stainless steel. Why? Because galvanized steel corroded and failed.The membrane will trap moistureThe problem, Holladay replies, is that moisture can come from either direction. “If Andy followed your advice,” he writes to Beyer, “the waterproofing membrane would be chilled by the cold concrete, and would form a condensing surface for moisture in the interior air.”Holladay concedes that some installations using the method that Chappell-Dick proposes are successful. “The method is safer in warmer climates than in cold climates (because a concrete wall doesn’t get as cold in Alabama as it does in Vermont),” Holladay says, “and it is safer in a house with a very dry basement than a house with a damp basement.”But the bottom line is that any wall assembly including a waterproof membrane and batt insulation against a foundation wall is risky, Holladay says. This applies to walls with a layer of polyethylene plastic against the concrete, followed by fiberglass batts, as well as walls where the batts come first, followed by poly. Ditto for walls with two layers of poly and fiberglass in between.“What happens?” Holladay asks. “If you are lucky, and the soil around your house and the air in your basement are dry, these methods can work. In other cases — and plenty of remodelers have seen the failures, again and again — you end up with a moldy mess.“In other words, these sandwiches of fiberglass and polyethylene are risky. You are rolling the dice. But if you are feeling lucky, go ahead and roll the dice.”Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:A crawl space foundation is just a short basement; you need the same three barriers that you need for any assembly — continuous air, water, and thermal barriers — as well as provisions for directional drying.Just as you would not insulate a basement before managing moisture, you need to manage moisture in the crawl space first, and then move on to insulation and air sealing. Check out this resource from Building Science Corporation.And if indeed crawls are just short basements, then check out these other BSC resources.Air-permeable insulations, including mineral wool, need a separate air barrier (and more than one of the BSC foundation details accomplishes this with a sealed rigid insulation layer between the masonry foundation and the air-permeable “cavity” insulation). Above-grade walls can have interior air barriers, like the Airtight Drywall Approach (ADA), but it is hard to consider ADA as appropriate for a crawl space or think of other interior sheathing that you could or would use as an interior crawl space air barrier.Insulating any building assembly on the interior makes the assembly colder; it’s just that masonry walls tend to care a lot less than framed walls, particularly ones sheltered below grade. For me, it’s that portion of the “below-grade” wall that is actually not below grade that is worrisome. And does it really matter if that condensation is only occurring in the portion of the wall above grade? It still represents a problem for any materials that can grow unintended biology.We tend to think of below-grade spaces as damp and cold because they are in contact with the soil and often aren’t moisture-managed. But if a crawl space is moisture-managed, you can air seal and insulate it just like a basement. Also bear in mind that any work to insulate and air seal the crawl space may have impact on levels of radon in the crawlspace and possibly the living spaces above.Using Foamglas is definitely a premium approach: the product has a good R-value, is inert, and is air-impermeable. With any other insulation approach, establish the three barriers and then check for directional drying potential. And frankly, if you can’t moisture-manage the crawl space, don’t insulate it. Andy Chappell-Dick is at work on a house in Climate Zone 5 where the task at hand is to upgrade a crawl space by adding insulation as well as a membrane to block the infiltration of moisture. The catch? The owners want to avoid the use of rigid foam insulation if at all possible.The floor of the crawl space is about a foot below grade, Chapell-Dick writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, and the area seems to be well drained. Foundation walls are made from concrete block (CMUs).He plans to foam in pieces of rigid extruded polystyrene in the rim joist area. To insulate the crawl space walls, Chappell-Dick wonders whether Rockwool Comfortboard 80, a rigid mineral wool insulation, would make a good substitute for rigid foam. Rockwool Comfortboard 80, according to the manufacturer, is non-combustible and chemically inert, and it’s made from natural and recycled materials, including rock. Rigid foam is a petrochemical.A second issue is how the waterproof membrane should be installed: should it be run up most of the crawl space wall, or can it be terminated at the base of the wall? And, Chappell-Dick wonders, does this detail have any bearing on the performance of insulation?That’s the backdrop for this Q&A Spotlight.This is not the place for RockwoolThe inherent air-permeance of mineral wool insulation makes it inappropriate for this application, writes GBA senior editor Martin Holladay.“The mineral wool can’t prevent humid interior air from contacting the cold crawl space walls,” he says. “The likely result will be moisture accumulation and mold.” RELATED ARTICLESHow to Insulate a Basement WallBuilding an Unvented Crawl SpaceFive Ways to Deal with Crawl Space Air From Building Science Corp: Conditioned Crawlspace Construction, Performance and Codes From the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Development and Assessment of Crawl Space Remediation StrategiesFrom Fine Homebuilding: Sealing a CrawlspaceCONSTRUCTION DETAILSInsulated and Conditioned Crawlspaceslast_img read more

Six killed in Meghalaya landslides

first_imgFresh landslides kill 5 in Bangladesh The death toll rose to five with the recovery of two more bodies in a rain-hit landslide in Ri-Bhoi district today, while a child was killed in a separate landslide in Meghalaya.While three persons were killed in the landslide at Umiam industrial area yesterday, bodies of two missing women were found this afternoon, SP Ramesh Singh said.All the five persons belonged to two families, he said.Nine injured persons were admitted to hospital.He said the incident took place at around 5 a.m. when the people were asleep inside the makeshift quarters of a sawmill at the Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation area.In another landslide at Mawjrong in East Khasi Hills district one child was killed yesterday, a delayed report said. The parents of the victim escaped with minor injuries, police said.The incessant rain in the past 48 hours have triggered several landslides in the state causing extensive damage in several roads.Also Readlast_img read more

Trinamool MLA gets into altercation with GJM lawmakers during Presidential polls

first_imgA controversy erupted during elections to the office of the President in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Monday when a Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA got into an altercation with the legislators of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ( GJM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).TMC MLA Paresh Pal took a swipe at the GJM MLAs saying that after setting the hills on fire they have come to Kolkata to vote. Rohit Sharma, the GJM MLA from Kurseong dared the Trinamool MLA to come to the hills and make the statement.After BJP MLA and State president Dilip Ghosh intervened, Mr Pal directed his ire towards him.“It is because of him, Dilip Ghosh that the hills are on fire…You are being spared because of the mercy of Mamata di, otherwise we would have taught you a lesson,” Mr Pal, who represent Beleghata Assembly segment in north Kolkata said.”We are aware of the fact that Darjeeling is on boil. But we are colleagues and we should have mutual respect for each other. Shouting and accusing shows the mentality,” GJM MLA from Darjeeling Amar Singh Rai said.Dilip Ghosh said that such language was unimaginable, coming from a lawmaker.last_img read more

Gilas Pilipinas joins Fiba Asia Champions Cup in China

first_imgLATEST STORIES MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next San Beda cruises to 8th straight; Bolick ejected after scuffle Roger Pogoy. Photo from Fiba.comGilas Pilipinas is set to compete in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup which runs from Sept. 22-30 in Shenzen, China.National team coach Chot Reyes announced Gilas’ participation in the tournament Tuesday on his Twitter account.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim “Breaking: Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas joins @FIBAAsiaCC. Games will be shown @TV5manila & @Sports5PH,” Reyes wrote.The tournament features some of Asia’s best club teams with China’s Xinjian Flying Tigers tipped to repeat as champions. The Flying Tigers will be led by naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGilas, which finished in seventh place in the Fiba Asia Cup last month, will use the competition as part of its buildup for the Fiba World Cup Qualifying in November. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his sidelast_img read more

The Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup

first_imgDressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of,Dressed in the team jersey, footballfans in Kolkata cheer for their favourite team, BrazilYou’ve got to love India for the way it loves football. There is no Indian team in the World Cup; and yet, for many Indians, life has ground to a delicious halt for the month-long duration of the tournament. Unlike in 2006-when Vikash Dhorasoo, a Mauritian descended from Andhra labourers indentured in the 19th century, made his improbable way on to the roster of France-there isn’t a single player of Indian origin in any of the 32 squads on view in Brazil.Amid the legions of naturalised players representing countries other than the ones in which they (or their parents) were born, there are Congolese players playing for Belgium, Albanians for Switzerland, Jamaicans for England, Turks for Germany, Surinamese for The Netherlands, Senegalese for France, Guinea-Bissauans for Portugal, Icelanders for the United States.But there is no ethnic Indian in sight- on any team, from anywhere-even though there can scarcely be a country where Indians have not settled in numbers. And yet, India is agog, watching the World Cup through late nights and early mornings with a passion that is truly impressive, even slightly mad. At an emotional and spiritual level, this should make Indians a special people. At least with regard to football, we are not narrow nationalists. I wanted to set up a business call with a colleague in Delhi and he pleaded, “Please, no, not then, I’ll be watching Colombia.” This was a country in which the man in question had never set foot, whose music (I can reliably state) he’d never heard, whose language he does not speak, and yet…missing even a small part of the game mattered. Colombia mattered because Colombia was playing football in the World Cup, and that was that. There is a purity of devotion in the heart of the Indian football aficionado that comes from being unsullied by merely patriotic impulses. This is what makes the Indian football fan so much more noble than the Indian cricket fan, who cares only for the Indian cricket team (a victorious Indian cricket team, preferably), and who would rather die a slow death than watch New Zealand play Sri Lanka, or England play South Africa.advertisementEvery four years, when the football World Cup starts to sizzle, Indian fans are faced with a question that fans in Brazil or England, Argentina or The Netherlands, do not ever face: Who to support? Not for Indians the electric pleasure of watching their team emerge from the tunnel, hair gelled, chins astubble, chests puffed with pride as the national anthem plays out to the world. Not for Indians the delight of having strangers from other lands come up to them, mouthing (and mangling) the names of Indian players in gestures of admiration and fandom. Not for Indians the panning of the cameras to Indian sections of a World Cup crowd, alighting on the faces of lovely Indian girls, painted Indian diehard fans, troops of men beating Indian drums. India, a billion-strong, is absent from the spectacle. We had a chance to be a part of all this, in 1950, when the Indian team was invited to the last World Cup held in Brazil. But the men who ran the Indian football federation, to their eternal damnation, chose not to send a team that would likely have acquitted itself well. They deemed the damage to their precious budgets to be too high.India-and Indian football-has been paying for that shortsightedness, that cosmic niggardliness, forever after. Those were years when India was the India of global under-confidence, of an inward-looking provincialism, when competition was frowned upon by the elites who governed the country. This aversion to competition afflicted our business, our industry, our trade… our football. And now that we are ready to compete with the world, we find that we cannot, except in those areas where we have a special advantage, such as cricket, with its small field of countries against which the game might be played.We are still appalling at most truly global competitions: Our universities aren’t world-class; our scientific R&D is mediocre, as is our defence technology; our industries are uncompetitive; our military fit for battle only against paltry Pakistan (and China knows this); our diplomats can barely speak English (let alone Russian or Arabic)… and our football team is ranked 154th in the world, one place above Singapore, one place behind Malaysia.But our football fans should be ranked close to, or at, No. 1, for they are the closest one gets to the platonic ideal of a football-lover. Not wedded to a team by blood or flag, they pick their favourites independently. An Indian family might have a father who supports Brazil, a son who shouts for a Spain, a daughter who swoons for Italy, a mother who admires Argentina. Brazil has long been an Indian passion, in part because its players play the game with such rollicking panache, but also because there is a sense that Brazil, somehow, is like India: A big, unruly, Third World country with colossal income disparity and cities seething with slums. It helps, perhaps, that some Brazilians even look a bit like us. But when we look at their football crowds, and their women, we know that there are few countries in the world that are as unlike India as Brazil. We gape at their sexual frankness, their startlingly different moral codes, and we know that all comparisons, all likenesses, have limits.advertisementIn the end, what the Indian fan looks for in a World Cup team is not an echo of himself or his country, but a history of excellence and a recognisable sporting idiom that appears to transcend national boundaries. Brazil plays football in a way that invites the whole world to watch. Recent Spanish teams have played that way, too, as have some of the more successful Argentine sides of the modern era. England, by contrast, and Germany (or, to be fair, the Germany of about 10 years ago) have both been teams that tailor their appeal to their own compatriots. Flair is an important part of global appeal, efficiency and grit less so. Which is not to say that Indian fans aren’t quietly envious of people from countries that aren’t in the top tier, and yet, by sheer dint of effort, send teams to World Cups: Costa Rica. Algeria. Greece. Bosnia and Herzegovina. South Korea. United States. Honduras. Iran.For the truth is that the Indian fan is acutely embarrassed every four years by the resounding absence of India from the World Cup, even as he is exhilarated by the matches between old favourites. Just as players from other lands are household names in his own country, the Indian fan yearns for the day when Indian players will command global attention, serving as better ambassadors for India than the legions of suits in embassies around the world. Watching football is a complex business when the World Cup comes around. We are uplifted by the play we see, by the rugged beauty on display. But we also feel very small as we watch, a nation cut down to size.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institutionlast_img read more