Growing Up with Project KHEL
Contributed by: Samiksha Raperia
One thing which never fails to make me happy is Sports; one can never find me sad on the field playing. This connection with sports has been a long one and who knew that I will be working with an organization where I get to do what makes me happy. I had been part of one of the core programmes of Project KHEL “Made in Maidan” in which play-based methods are used for inculcating life skills in underprivileged children and then I was introduced to the other programme which is “Ultimate Frisbee”.
I had never come across this sport before I joined Project KHEL. The unique concept of ultimate was fascinating to me. I was told that this is a self-officiated sport in which there is no referee. And there was a chain of thoughts which occurred to me at that moment like how is it possible, how this even works, how does match happen without a referee etc. But eventually, I realized and loved how this sport promotes the idea of being truthful and respectful towards fellow players and balances fair play and competitiveness.
I started playing Ultimate Frisbee some months back and little did I know that I will develop an interest for this sport. I started practicing with the team for their first national tournament a month back in the chilly winters. This had been a challenging month for me as I have never been a morning person but for the practice, I had to reach early in the morning. Though I have had experience of morning practices during college but at that time I used to sleep the whole day in college after practice and here it was different as I had to do sessions and work rest of the day. So, getting up in the morning, reaching for practice on time and then working for the whole day had been an exhausting and fun experience which I never thought I could do till the time I actually did it.
Apart from that, if I talk about my experience of travelling for the AUO (Ahmedabad Ultimate Open) with the team of adolescents, it was itself a fun yet learning experience. I was quite nervous before travelling as I had never travelled with a bunch of kids like it. Also, I was thinking of all odds which could happen while travelling (travel anxiety :p). But, I did a decent job in managing everything. I came across a different side of mine throughout the journey as I had to prioritize children before everything at each step. As far as playing in matches is considered, it was a different experience in the sense I was not there as a player but as a mentor who had to be in a certain manner. The tournament brought back all my memories of participating in sports during school and college time. It made me experience the taste of victory and losing again but I was calmer this time irrespective of we lost or won.
One thing which stood out for me during the whole trip was that how I was able to accommodate myself with the children. I was molding my behaviour according to the needs; I was strict when I needed to be, I became part of their fun and also backed out from the situations when I thought they needed to be given their time. Altogether, it was a fulfilling experience.
I remember one moment from the trip vividly when we were coming back, I was chatting with one of my friends and I was asked how my experience was and my first response to it was “Mai badi ho gayi, mujhe is trip par maloom pada” (I am a grown-up person which I realized on this trip) and yes, this trip certainly made me realize that. I really feel I have become more mature, empathetic and thoughtful after this journey of ultimate.