My Ultimate Experience at Lucknow
I have been playing Ultimate for three years. Like all other sports, it taught me teamwork, discipline, comradeship etc. But why didn’t I go for other popular sports like cricket, football, basketball? Well the answer lies in the concept of Spirit of the Game(SOTG). With no referees, Ultimate relies on the Spirit of the Game, placing the onus of sportsmanship and honorable play on the players themselves. Each and every one who plays Ultimate are the referees of the game and we all are entrusted to follow the rules and have mutual respect for each and every player on the field. SOTG enables all the players to have highly competitive matches with the best spirit, which I found interesting. Each time I played, the game changed me into a better version of myself. And to share the change and spark that I felt while playing Ultimate with new players was my motivation to join Project KHEL as an intern by mid-July, 2019.
I have known about Project KHEL for past two years, since they brought three teams to my college to play in Stephen’s Open Ultimate Frisbee tournament. From then onwards each time I have played against them in tournaments conducted at Delhi and Lucknow, I witnessed the improvement in the team. In our first encounter, my team emerged victorious against their best team. But after which to this day my college team has not been able to defeat Project KHEL’s second best team. The growth doesn’t stick with the quality alone, from three teams in the beginning of 2018 to 9 teams, plus 4 teams forming in the background, Project KHEL has been able to spread the game into the heart of more than two hundred kids. And to work with them at this moment, was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss.
When I try to recollect all the experiences that I had here for the past four months, the only thing that keeps resonating in my mind is, “Good morning/evening Anand Bhaiya”, with which all kids welcome me, when I come to centers to play with them. Playing with the kids, experienced teams, helping in organizing two tournaments for them, celebrating Eid, Diwali, birthdays together, all are memories that I will cherish. You might need a big motivation to go every day for early morning practices, to go for three to five hour long practices on holidays, well for me my motivation was the children here with whom I played, whom I coached, with whom I learned. On any day, these kids manage to come for practice, then work to help their families, go to school, some of them are Youth Coaches who run centers at different locations where they impart the game to other kids and then focus on their studies. For me each life that I saw here was an eye opener to how lucky and privileged I am. This was all the motivation that I required each day to get out of the comfort of my blanket and give my best in each of my responsibilities.
Now as I reach towards the end of my internship, each second that I spent with the kids here was a new chapter in the book of life for me. For me to come to Lucknow and to work with Project KHEL, is as Robert Frost said,
“I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference