I have revealed my fondness to deal with facts in many of my previous blog posts. The following are also facts:
1) I have played a maximum of 50 hours throughout my childhood.
2) There have been many instances when I haven’t played for years together at a stretch.
3) I was always discouraged to go out and play by my parents. There have been many instances when I had to lie to my parents as to why I came home later than usual when all the time I was having the time of my life in some playground playing with my friends.
Like I said, these are facts. I have not tried to exaggerate anything here. And right now I will continue to state facts. It was only after my 2nd puc that I began to play. I found this bunch of guys of my age who were playing football near my home in a playground. I was driving my vehicle that time. Usually I don’t stop for anything when I am driving. But by then, I had become this crazy football buff that I couldn’t resist. So I stopped and went and asked them if I could join them. They said they didn’t have any problem. And there you go, that was when I started to play again.
Soon I started to go there frequently and so I got to know them better. But still I never really got into the game. How do you expect someone who has hardly played anything till then in his entire life, to play something like football very well? I was sad at playing football. I was very easily the worst player among all those who came there to play. I scored a few own goals, let the ball go through my legs, handled the ball conceding penalties, mis-kicked the ball on more than one occasion, and well- I did a lot more. And I knew that every day that I went there to play football, I would end up doing the same or perhaps something worse. But then I didn’t stop going. Whatever I was doing, whatever pathetic football that I was playing, as far as I could see, the only thing that mattered to me was that I was still playing football. And as long as I was doing that, I didn’t care as to how I was playing it. I was just happy to go there everyday and run around the ground marking forwards and denying them the chance to score, or just running around and hoping that I somehow get the ball and that I may get to make a crucial pass which may end up in goal. It has happened on a few occasions. But then, I was happy with what I got.
And while all this was happening, I realized that I wasn’t really playing that frequently at all. And then when I came to the hostel for my college, I hardly played. I managed to get into some arbit game of football now and then, but nothing concrete at all. I was quite disappointed with all that. 2 years had passed and I hadn’t played anything.
And then enter 3rd year and I knew that this would be different. I was going to live with a whole different group of friends altogether. And these were the ones who played football regularly.
And I played football. It was not so much as to how I played than the fact that I was playing. I was running around madly tiring myself quickly but nevertheless I kept on running. I was sweating and panting with only half an hour into the game. I said to myself, “ What hell? This is what I play for!” And so I continued to run around. I played approximately about 2 hours continuously. I was tired. And I was happy.
And so I played regularly. At least 3-4 times a week. There have been instances when I am playing and I look up to the sky. And I see lots of clouds. And then I pray for the heavens to open up. And on more than one occasion, it has rained. So there I am, running around the ground. There I am sweating myself out. And then, it rains.
Those who have played some sport in the rain will be aware of the sensual pleasure it gives to the one who is playing. The first sense of the rain falling down on you, the subsequent downpour, the experience of getting drenched in that rain, and all the time, you are doing something that you should have done way back in your childhood. That, man, made me happy. That was what I live for. That, was why I still believed that happiness exists on this planet.
And now everytime they go out to play, I make sure that I go play as well- irrespective of whether I have a test the next day or not. And I don’t have any repents if that has cost me anything till now. Because you see, I am just making up for all the times that I had lost. Who said that it is in your childhood that you play the most and enjoy the most? Who said that as you grow older, you get more worried and so you can’t live and enjoy like a kid? And who said that those who haven’t played in their childhood have lost a lot?
Well, I can tell you this much. I am 20 years old and I am now coming to know what it means to play. And I am happy. I don’t care if I played less than what a dog plays in its first year of living, I don’t care if all that I have won in sports in my entire life was a 3rd place finish in a tricycle race in my UKG, I don’t care if my parents robbed me of my childhood by brainwashing me that the only thing worthy on this planet is studies and that playing is something only bad kids do, I don’t care if everytime I go out to play I happen to score an own goal, I don’t care if I happen to break my wrist when I fall while playing and I don’t care a damn everytime I see some 8 year old kid playing better football than what I do now.
All I know is that I am on the ground and that I am playing football. And I also know that sometimes it rains and that I love to play in the rain. And so as long as I happen to keep playing football, and as long as there exists even a slight possibility of rain, all I know is that you will find me happy- like a kid.