If there has been a standout of the journey of our cricket team through this World Cup, it would be the way the game has brought the entire country together.
That passion was more than evident at the semi final clash against New Zealand: the packed Premadhasa stadium of 36,000 fans from all walks of life, from the tuk tuk driver, to the police officers and to the little kids, waving the national flag with pride and chanting “Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka!”
That is the true Sri Lankan spirit that we should feel not just for our cricket team when they play, but for our country at all given times too. Our national cricket team, consisting of players from all religions and races, show us that we can work as a team and that being Sri Lankan means, putting aside superficial differences to do your best for your country. That no matter how tough a game is and how high the odds are stacked against us, we should always be positive and never give up, that we should put country before self and work as one cohesive unit - because in the end, we are all working towards the same goal.
All those traits can be easily used into our day to day lives too, by taking ownership of our identity as Sri Lankans, and spreading that passion we feel for cricket to other issues in our country. It is about transcending the love we feel for our country towards causes that matter - be it poverty alleviation, awareness on HIV / AIDs, environmental sustainability, etc. People often wonder what being Sri Lankan truly means? Is it the varying colours of our skin? Or what religion or race we are born into? Or what we individually define as culture? Does any of that even matter when time stands still when our players walk onto the field?
To me, being Sri Lankan means none of those things. It is about believing in humanity. It is about caring about what affects you and your neighbor, being aware on what you can do personally and more importantly, taking the initiative to make that difference, in whatever way that you can.
It is by believing that we can make a difference that we become a positive force, and in order to do so, we need to work together, be committed to social change in all forms, and when things get tough, never giving up because we are all working towards the same goal – creating a Sri Lanka where every man, woman and child have equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
When you think of it, there really isn’t too much of a difference between our national players working together to pull off a win and us working together to build a stronger Sri Lanka. If they can do it, don’t you think that we can too?
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