June 2003, DAV
The PT teacher of the school asked me what sport I play. I, with a lot of confidence and pride said I played Kho-Kho and was the captain of my old School team.
He said “It was a girls game” without batting an eyelid. Little did he know that it wasn’t a girls game but a game that could win a girl.
At least, that is how it was in the place I came from..
June 2002, Chinmaya Vidyalaya
Kho-Kho is not a game, Its an Emotion.
Kho-Kho is Grit, Kho-Kho is Pride, Kho-Kho is Glory,
Kho-Kho is where you can announce to the world that you belong.
The Kho-Kho field resembled the Colosseum. The fans support their team with all their hearts. We even had Musical beats with with empty water bottles. You prove on that field and you will be talked about in the entire school. What better feeling than getting a little extra attention from people who didn’t even know you existed.
But, That wasn’t the case with me. I was the youngest to have played Kho-Kho for the house team. I was a very quick learner and I became extremely good at it. Every Sports day, The House captain goes to the podium and collects the trophy. Every single time that happened, I used to dream of the moment I go up the stage, collect that coveted trophy and display it to all the people in the stadium.
As luck may have it, I was a part of the the winning team for 5 consecutive years under 5 different captains.
Winning became a habit and never did I ever think, that a team with me could lose a game of Kho-Kho.
It was my 6th year and this time, I was the Captain.
This was a tournament with 4 teams, where each team plays against the other 3 and top 2 play the finals. Our team was the strongest and I was the most experienced player among all the 48 players. We had won all our league matches with an innings to spare and had comfortably sealed our spot in the final. For people, who don’t know the game, We had scored more points in a single inning as compared to what the other team scored in two.
The Final – The distance between me and my destiny.
We were meeting the same team that had been humiliated by us in the first round and in fact, we felt the final was just a mere formality. It was a David and a Goliath Contest
Man proposes and God disposes. For all the rationalists, it is chaos theory.
My brother who was an alumnus and a Kho-Kho player himself, had come to watch the final.Instead of just watching, he offered to become the referee for the game and The PT teacher gladly agreed to the same and let him officiate the final. Conflict of Interest was a problem even at that time. The opponents were displeased thinking the decisions might work in our favour.
Kho-Kho is a game where every single person has to contribute. A performance from a single person can rarely win it for the team.
Every team had a weak link and we had one in the form of a guy who could never keep his legs within the line. Every time he was a given a Kho, he got up and placed his leg on the wrong side and got fouled by the referee who didn’t miss a single detail. We tried keeping him out of the game by not passing the chance to him. But the runners got a huge area to seek refuge and remained free. The time was running out and they were moving towards victory and we had to figure something out to stop them from winning.
Mr.Stuart Little, the pocket sized dynamo was so calm the he just crawled and danced with grace on the field. We tried every possible way to catch him but every time he stood near ‘that’ guy and fouled him out. He exploited it with all his might. He made us pay for our weakness. The hole in our ship just got bigger and bigger and the dreams of us winning the cup was moving farther and farther.
The final moments are still etched in my mind. Every person in my team was waiting for 1 extra second of time so that a miracle could happen. My teammates were in tears. I could see them crying and fighting .They had given everything they had and all they felt at that moment was helplessness. The fouls made by one single person were killing the hopes and beliefs of every other person in the team who had sweat their lives for this cup. Hope and Winning are the best of friends in sports. One goes, the other goes with it.
The final whistle blew, Our ship had sunk. I, the Captain had gone down with the ship. That victory which I had been dreaming for so many years was not mine. The dream of going to the stage and touching that trophy was never going to happen. I am not a Sachin or a Federer or a Di Caprio. Imagine if they had gone home without a World Cup or a French Open or an Oscar. I felt the same at the end of the day and I feel the same even today.
There were 3 things that took that trophy away from me.
- My Brother for his good refereeing.
- Mr.Stuart Little for his amazing gameplay.
- The hole (Weakness) in our team and the fouls
If not for the 3rd, We would have won the game. I could describe this guy in detail and about every ******* thing that made us lose. ** *** *** ******* ******** . I could go on and on with my description but I am just stopping with the above as a few more lines of stars wont make any sense to anyone but me.
Its 14 Years .
The deep scar left by “You know who”has made me babble away at the middle of the night.
We have gone old, We have grown bald, We have great jobs, We are married, We have kids and We have memories that are strong enough to make us kids again. My life has been wonderful and If at all, I am given a chance to alter some event, it might be the final of 2002.
Everyone has a bucket list and so do I. Winning the final of 2002 would be the only thing that would remain unticked while I move on.