Though not in literal sense but I very firmly believe that I am a sportsperson. No, I don’t play in IPL, I was never named in my college team in any sports and I have no certificates and trophies in my showcase to display and gain appreciation; that does not deter me from my belief about who I consider myself to be.
I have played many sports in my life till date and I can claim that I am definitely an above average player of cricket, volleyball and badminton and an average player of football and table tennis. That makes it 5 sports.
I have many a times paid decent money out of my pocket to play two matches of badminton on Sundays or a weekend tourney of football.
And last few Saturdays, I woke up at 4.30 AM to reach Noida (30 kms away from my house), play cricket from 6.00 to 9 AM and then reach office at 10.30 AM, all dirty and sweaty, without taking a shower (#truestory).
My few friends have asked me many a times- why, what is the need? Why would you wake up at 4.30 in morning for some stupid cricket match. Initially, I tried explaining them but now I just smile. How would I explain them that a sportsperson just is just not the one whom we watch on TV, who represents your country in Olympics or world cups? He could be anyone; all it is about playing with the fire in the belly.
Playing sports has always been a passion inside me. Like a normal Indian kid, I grew up playing cricket mostly. But for other kids, it was about batting and bowling. They never dived, they never fielded. Some feared the clothes would get all muddy or torn or they will get wounds and scratches; others were just too lazy. But for me, fielding was an art. How can I let the bloody ball pass by me? I will dive and stop it. It won’t go past me without me giving my 100%. I applied the same in every sport I played- football, volleyball- giving my 100% every time. I got numerous scars in my childhood and every time I managed that , I received a good haring from my father. I just could not stop myself.
They say sports instil qualities in you that you exhibit on the field. It can bring out the leader in you; it can inculcate the team spirit and hard work. With me this never happened. In the serious part of my life, I am not a hard worker and I certainly can’t lead. While playing, I am a quick learner and can read my opposition. When I work, I run away from learning and communicating was never my strength. What is wrong with me- I could never make out? One thing that has always nagged me is that I believed that I would have made a better sportsman only if I would have pushed my parents about it.
The people working with me- all have played some sports earlier in their life. Now when I ask them to come with me, they give me absurd excuses. Some say they don’t feel paying the money to play; some are too lazy to move their bum on a holiday.
You know what- I am proud of myself that I never allowed myself to become like them. I could have also easily let my love for sports depart and decay citing the ‘professional’ reasons. For cricket, there was never an excuse and I am also lucky to have old friends (the college mates) who have the same keeda in them to play. It might be searing hot or freezing cold- we played in the college days, day in day out, 3 matches in a single day and now that everyone has settled in their lives, we gather again to have a match on weekends. Going all the way 30 kms, playing the match, changing the clothes in an open ground and then reaching office with sleep hovering- I could never mind it.
I have lied to and manipulated many people related to me when it comes to me playing sports. My parents, brother and girlfriend- all have been given silliest of excuses for not meeting them or not doing some work. In reality, I was playing. I do not feel guilty about it and I have no plans to discontinue my ‘cheating’ behaviour for this passion. I will keep playing- if I will have to lie, I will. I can postpone movies, I can quit meals and I can skip hangouts. My fellow batch mates used to go for movies the day exam ended; my group used to pick up bat and ball, find some open field and play. It never mattered whether the playing space had grass or not or for that matter, some cemented surface. I have played on roads with the same enthusiasm and fun and passion.
Enough of bragging, huh? Before I end this, I advise you that if you ever had a sportsperson in you which is dying due to lack of effort from your part, awake him. Take him to the field, let him grab his favorite ball and kick that favorite shot and he will be alive. Lie, cheat, postpone- do whatever to be among the lush green grasses or yellow soil- forget the rains, forget the sun, forget the stains on the clothes. Be prepared to see your mumma scolding and girlfriend sulking over this. That won’t end even if you sit at home and watch daily serials or become a shopaholic.
Get that scar, take your team to the winning line, revel in the moment of ecstasy and celebrate the occasion over beers. But do find an excuse to play and bloody do it.