Monday, December 5, 2011

A decade-long tryst with football

I fell in love with football on a wintry day in 2003 when I first got cable and started watching ESPN. At that time, for some health reasons I could barely walk, far less run or play football. It started as a dream; a standard teenager's dream of wanting to play, score goals to a rousing applause. That dream stayed for a long time, being nurtured and cherished everytime ESPN telecast football. Those early years of following football went by dreaming of outstanding tackles, stunning overhead kicks resulting in goals and playing in front of a large audience who would explode into rapturous ovation.

Dreams have this beautiful nature of having absolutely nothing to do with conscious reality. Despite knowing all of the above to not be plausible, I never stopped dreaming. The years rolled by steadily; the early years of college going in making lame excuses to why I couldn't play any games and being laughed at. Years rolled on, by the final year of college I had made feeble and cautious attempts on trying out sports again, little bits of cricket, basketball etc but not football yet. Thou desires most what thee don't haveth. My craving for playing football only increased in all these years.

That chance finally came in IISc when I felt confident enough to be able to challenge my body into playing. Five years after following football on TV like any average youngster, I finally was able to play it for the first time after school days. I still remember the thrill of kicking the football on that summer day in 2008. I felt like a winner on that day. My initial days in playing were more around finding more about what limits I could stretch to.

As luck would have it, one of my first achievments while playing for those initial few months wasn't scoring beautiful goals or making outstanding tackles but to break my left hand in such a way that it needed surgery. Bang went my chances of playing for another few months by which time I had to graduate.

However fates gave me another chance when I was fortunate enough to join a company with a sprawling campus and lovely lush green grounds. After now playing regularly and freely for the last one year, I felt I had achieved my dream. I couldn't have asked for more really.

Last month, we had an intra-company soccer tournament. I can't sprint, would be wheezing after a couple of minutes of hard running; I am not a great dribbler or anything like that; I don't kick the ball the correct fashion because no one ever taught me how (those who 've seen me play know that); all the things I can't do on a football field could fill out a couple of pages.
Yet on the evening the tournament ended, I looked into the mirror; and saw a broken toe, a bruised and battered body (a small price to pay), the captain of the runner's up team and the player of the tournament standing there. Not a bad achievment, considering I once doubted my ability to walk normally again. Indeed, dreams can be accomplished within the same lifetime if you try hard enough. Our team lost in the finals (in extra time), but we were still magnificient throughout.

I must take this opportunity to thank all those who believed in me, encouraged me to go out and play, and many of those who allowed me to play with them.

A couple of photos after the tournament!

Team 'Lapak Khiladiz' - Microsoft Soccer Fest 2011, Runner's Up

With the "Player of the Tournament" trophy


  1. Saw the pics on MSIDC's page on facebook. Congratulations. :) It is always nice to hear time and again that the dreams do come true. :)