I got a huge shock when I visited The Sportstar website today.The Sportstar is no more,it's just Sportstar now.Not only this,they are changing the magazine format to a more 'youthful' tabloid format to appease the newer generation.I felt there was nothing wrong with the old form,but then I might be getting older and more 'retro'.This news is even worse.
I'm overwhelmingly nostalgic right now.I still remember the day when my brother told the newspaper wala to bring The Sportstar-way back in 1992 when I was 8 and he was 9.In 2nd standard I was supposed to read about Hiawatha and The Man who ate too much,but that was replaced by a Jim Courier interview or a special on Senna after that.So when my classmates had a tough time figuring out why SA lost the '92 semifinal to England,I had all the explanation with extensive rules at my disposal.While people were quoting cliched sayings out of essay books in their essays,I was writing things like 'Football is not a matter of life and death,it's much more important than that' when asked to write about my favourite sport.The Sportstar started and fuelled my fanaticism for sport.
The poster was a huge thing to look forward to every week,and ensured a minor fight between two brothers when it finally came.I wanted Mark Waugh and Nigel Mansell on my side of room while my brother insisted on keeping them with Brian Mcmillan and Sabatini on his side.A very worthy thing to fight for.After my dad got transferred and we moved to another house we decided to make things special with the huge collection of posters we had accumulated till then.The front room wall was plastered with all kinds of posters,many of whose taglines I can still recall.I think it took around 40 to cover the wall and we made it an annual affair.Anyone who entered our house had a word or two to say about our efforts and the awesome display.Looked nice and felt real good.We of course kept the special ones to stay beside our bedsides.Even now I have a Mark and Steve Waugh poster from '93,Cronje,Mika Hakinnen,Richard Krajicek,Hingis,Jordan,Mark Taylor and Roberto Baggio adorning my room wall.My brother being a fanatic Azhar supporter has 3 Azhars and a Pistol Pete staring at his now unoccupied bed.Those days can never come back again,and with The Sportstar being revamped,they really can't.
From '92 to '01 we had,until recently,almost each copy kept in the store room.One of my favourite pastimes when I went home was to sift through those innnumerous copies and relive those moments while turning the pages.Denmark's amazing victory in Euro '92,Senna's tragic death,Pete's unbeatble streak,Sachin's long awaited ODI hundred-moments just came flooding back.It was almost like a diary I never kept.
Brijnath and Lokpally had become a part of my life.Glanville made sure I knew things about the football world before ESPN et al made them so popular here.Ted Corbett's diary was staple diet without which the week could not go on.Sunny and Simpson provided views that mattered.And of course all the stats I ever knew was courtsey Menon.Thankfully they should still be there.
TARGET was the only other magazine I read this regularly and loved till it gave way to the rather pathetic Teens Today,which made sure I stopped subscribing.I just pray to God that something similar does not happen in this case.
And I hope they stick with the tagline 'Relive the Sensation'-such an appropriate one.