I have always studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya schools; one of the best things for their students is the multiple opportunities to participate in inter-school competitions every year. I was in the school kho-kho and volleyball team. I have been playing Kho-kho at regional level since I was nine or ten years old. So I was pretty sure that one day I’ll play at national level but the most unpredictable factor is the transferring of students. This year you may have a best team you can count on and the next year many good players may leave the school because their parents were transferred to another city. I had the same problem back then when I was in 7th standard. Firstly I transferred to the different city and secondly many good players of that team shifted. We couldn’t win even district level to play at regionals and on top of that our sports teacher changed. When the new teacher saw our new kho-kho team’s performance, he confirmed my suspicion and I was really heartbroken because I wanted to play at nationals. He suggested a very unconventional thing, he told us to change the game. Yes change the game, sounds crazy, I almost said the same to him but he asked us ‘Why do we play kho-kho?’ Many gave different answers, I remember mine. I said,”I like sports and I play to win, back then it was sort of the only sports team for girls at my school. Though I love the game but it wasn’t my first choice.” He told us that he is a national level handball player, have many records in his name, he can train us in two months. Yes in two months were regional’s and before that district level matches. He told us that competition in handball isn’t as difficult as in Kho kho as many teams don’t really know the techniques of the game.
After many hours of rigorous practice of two months, here comes the day of my team’s first match at regionals at Jabalpur. Yes we indeed won the districts. And we lost our 1st match terribly. The same evening a coach approached us, he was coaching the best team there of ‘Kendriya Vidyalaya No.2 GCF Jabalpur’ itself, Coach told us we were good and we were playing by rules and by heart but not mind, also our approach was wrong even the formation of players. We need to use what we have best. I was the center player and my throw was really good, I have won shot put throws many times, so he taught us how to get free throws. Was it cheating? No. Was it fair? Probably not but he said ‘everything is fair in a face off‘. When on field, the opponents always try to get too close, sometimes even hurt you so we learnt how to tackle that hurt and take advantage of it. He coached us on one on one defense strategies, also changed few positions of our team players and changed our goal keeper. Next day we won. Although we weren’t the only team which was being bullied of the over aggressive opponents, many others were, it was just we were aware of it now and that awareness helped us to win. By the end of three days of continuous matches, we were the bronze medallist after winning over the team who has been winning the medal for past three years. (Albeit I believe that their team wasn’t as strong as it used to be, probably their good players left the school as well). Did we win because of those free throws? It did play a big role but not only that was the winning factor, we won because we weren’t ignorant of what really happens on a field. We knew our game, our strength, opponents mind and we had our zeal to win. And led us towards that medal.
That day I learned that using mind smartly along with your heart is the one of the most important factors in life. Using only one may not always be fruitful. If you want to win, you need to change the game according to you, so that it is in your favour. You need to realize your real strength in a match and focus on that very keenly, you need to know your opponents mind, you need to know what’s happening on the field. You need to be aware of everything around you then only you can win.
PS- The same year I was transferred to another city, another KV. I never played Handball at Nationals, I always wonder if I had one more year in that school, would I have won regionals? And it is one of the games I ever loved playing.
*Image source HERE
** This is a real/non-fiction experience.