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Thursday, July 4, 2024

Can Men Cry in Public !!

Sure you have had moments of depression and cried ! if not Onions would have made you cry !  -  Can Men cry in Public ?  – is that an absurd Q !?!?  We were brought up with firm opinion bias that ‘women are weak and would cry ! – Men are strong and should not cry !’ !!  

On that night at Bridgetown Barbados, emotions ran high as Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma broke down after India beat South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2024   to win its first major trophy after 11 long years. 

Decades ago, there was an exponent  [his losses made me cry – though he remained stoic is another matter] – with his punishing topspin ground strokes, Ivan Lendl won eight Grand Slam singles titles, reached the final of at least one Grand Slam tournament for 11 straight years;  advanced to 19 Grand Slam finals -  was ranked No. 1 for 270 weeks – had many honours – but never could win a Wimbledon.  Lendl had to move away due to back injury –  later he coached  Andy Murray, Lendl would look more like a modern art - with his arms crossed, or his chin resting on his left hand;  reserved and serious rarely showing any emotion. 

Men are generally strong and hide their emotions well ! ~ remember the sad end to Andre Agassi's 20-year career  beaten by German qualifier Benjamin Becker [no relative to more famous Boris Becker] at the US Open.  Agassi was clearly affected by the chronic back injury which hastened his decision to retire. Backed by a fiercely patriotic crowd, Agassi battled courageously but Becker's power proved too much. The man thought as a legend was shattered and was in tears. He was crying on the ground and later on screen too……


29th June 2024 was really an emotional moment for all Indians – India beating   South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2024 at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados to win its first major trophy after 11 long years. Team India skipper Rohit Sharma was seen rolling on the ground and got emotional. Team India players Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli all  got too  emotional and there were tears all around !  It was a nail-baiting finish; South Africa were very much in the game until the 17th over during their chase of 176 runs, when Jasprit Bumrah bowled a match-saving over.  The  highlight of the game was the final over, bowled by Hardik Pandya. South Africa needed 16 runs, but Team India won by 7 runs. 

Keeping in mind the same Q – why do men Cry or should they cry in public at all ? – Indian Cricketers are not alone ! – nor will be the last ones !

Cristiano Ronaldo, regarded by many as the greatest football of all time, cried nothing short of a river recently,  so frustrated was the Saudi-based striker with his inability to find the back of the net in the Euros knock-out match against Slovenia. And the footballing superstar isn't the only one to howl at the moon in public. Taylor Swift's squeeze Travis Kelce has cried on camera on multiple occasions during his football career.  When King Frederik of Denmark took the Danish throne in January this year, he couldn't stop the tears flowing from his eyes, using his formal white glove to dry his moist eyes.  Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson has also appeared emotional in public, amid reported 'crisis talks' with his girlfriend Zara McDermott. 


But should men wear their heart on their sleeves, or have the male species got a little bit, well, mushy?  One journalist from London said MailOnline that   men should be 'stoic, sturdy and strong'.  Yes, crying is a good release but this was generic life stuff. And dare I say it, menial.  Another writer says   she has little time for men who 'trauma-dump' in public.   She added, Call me old fashioned but at one point men were stoic, sturdy and strong. They would open doors, be the shoulder to lean on and take a pragmatic approach to life. They were dependable and something that many now turn their nose up at; chivalrous. Now you have men who want to 'trauma-dump,' live in a coffee-cup festering bedroom at 40, and bawl their eyes out at any given opportunity. Sorry, it's a hard pass from me. 

She felt that while expressing emotions is healthy and of course, is beneficial for us all to find a network of friends and family for support, in my opinion, it's unnecessary for it to be so public.  With so many emotional baggage boys around,  perhaps women  actually find it attractive to see a very composed man.  Some believe  men crying in public will only lead to unwanted attention, speculation and while they may feel better for letting it all out, that's what toilets and snivelling under the duvet is for. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's tears have certainly revived the discussion over emotional expressiveness in leadership, and whether there is a place for it. Emotions are a natural part of our lives, and acknowledging them is essential for true leadership - but there are productive ways of doing so.  Leadership shouldn't be about perfection, or ego, but should be about inspiration, motivation and empathy. Ronaldo's emotional display doesn't indicate weakness, but the essential test of a leader is how they manage their emotions.  Leaders who learn to skillfully control their emotions within the workplace are in a stronger position to motivate their teams and foster a culture that values emotions. 

It's important not to hide emotions in public, but it's important to embrace healthy communication over intense expression, as this is more productive.  Read that in Japan there are   'crying clubs'   called 'rui-katsu' which translates as 'tear seeking' which are seen as  an incredibly pragmatic way to support our mental health.    

Lest we forget, this is not about crying at the time of loss of near and dear, but more of a lesson for those in Public, be it sportsperson or otherwise – a good or bad day on field need not necessarily be followed by open unabashed display of emotions !
You are entitled to your own thoughts !
With regards – S Sampathkumar



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