Monday, May 26, 2008

I Still Love The Game

While riding to work this morning I passed by a Basketball Court. Three schoolboys were practicing the shots. As I passed by, one of them flung the ball towards the ring and I saw it spin in the air…it was the sort of moment that runs in slow motion in commercials…all I could see was the spinning basketball heading towards the board and everything else was blurred…the ball made the shot but I missed…

I missed being a 6 year old ambling around the Basketball court with a mini-size Basketball in hand, hardly able to handle it, oblivious to the fact that her future coach was telling her mother that the kid is too young to be enrolled with the club at this point…

I missed the time when I got my first pair of sports shoes, replete with these fancy lights at the ankles…lights that you could remove and keep aside when you were doing serious sports and put back in the shoes when you wanted to show them off…

I missed dressing up in a T-shirt, skirt and complete the attire with the sports shoes, then holding my little sister’s hand (even younger than a too-young me) and capering to Shivajinagar Gymkhana (SNG) for our daily practice – exercises, games like Dog-and-the-Bone and Dodge-Ball using the Basketball, man-to-man passes, dribbling and prayers…

I missed the time I was introduced to other girls at Saraswati Kanya Sangh (SKS) after I was enrolled there…8 years was old enough.

I missed standing in the queue and chatting eagerly about the day at school while we took turns to go dribbling or waited for the ball to be passed to us by one of the senior girls…I missed looking at the senior girls with admiration and long to be on the court playing a full-fledged match like them…

I missed waking up at 5 in the morning to gear up and cycle to the court and practice till 8, come rain come shine, and return only so I could squeeze school in the remaining hours before 5:30 PM and go back to the club…

I missed running 15 rounds of the court twice a day, day in and day out and then following that up with other warm up exercises before we dove into practising the shots – board shots, running shots, free shots, three-pointers…and of course strategies like two-man runs and three-man weaves…I missed winding up the day with a 45-minute game…

I missed all the gossip and the politics that an all-girls club could possibly handle…yet, now when I think about it, it does not matter anymore who said what – I hardly remember all that – what matters is that we played the game together…

I missed waiting for my name to be called out as they announced the teams for upcoming tournaments and handed me the kit…any number was fine by me…any number as long as I was getting to play…I missed hearing the fixtures being announced and strategizing about who the strong players in the rival clubs were and how we were going to handle them…

I missed being scolded on the court in the middle of the match by our coach – the perfectionist…mistakes were not tolerated…I missed seeing the smiles when we won, the tears when we lost…

I missed being in the school team, travelling to cities like Satara and Solapur with my schoolmates…I owe my independence to those and similar trips…I missed the fun we had while travelling together in Maharashtra Express – almost 24 hours of a journey…I missed how everybody took so much care of me when I had a minor fracture in my left ring-finger…warmth sweeps over me just to remember it all…

I never made it to the National level in Basketball, never won any specific titles. I was just a part of the winning teams. But it gave me immense joy to be out there in the middle of all the action and playing the game. It has taught me a lot – discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship…it has given me a lot – moments of joy, friends and memories.

To this day, I cannot hold a Basketball in my hand without a smile sweeping over my face for all that I experienced in almost 10 years of cumulative Basketball training. And it continues to bring joy to my life…

I love wearing my sports gear and getting to the courts as sunshine washes the place with its brightness, I love warming up for the practice, I love to run with the ball dribbling by my side, spinning happily…

I love to fling the ball towards the ring, see it spin in the air…like a moment that runs in slow motion in commercials…

And I love it when my teammates shout ‘Good Shot!’ if I make it or ‘Buck Up’ if I miss it…I love everything about this game!

The fact remains that (and I am borrowing words from Jordan because no one can say it better) -

Even when I'm old and grey, I won't be able to play it, but I'll still love the game.

3 Thinkers Pondered:

RADhika said...

You made me nostalgic!!!how i miss those days....i wish i could contuniue playing basketball.... :(

Satish said...

This post brings back the memories of childhood days.....
However the irony in life is memories of childhood keep coming back and the child in us grows and never comes back.....

Time to go the court and a shoot a 3 pointer.....

Anupama Kondayya said...

Hey Radhika,

How I wish the same too! That was such a good time full of spirit...I really miss those days :(

Hey Satish,

Shoot one for me too please :)...

Thanks for the comments both of you!