Thursday, July 8, 2010


The last I had played basketball was when I was 19 during my B.Com days - in Punjab University at CHANDIGARH. Now I can't imagine even one day without BASKETBALL - playing, coaching or writing about it. It is a long story but I will make it as short as possible. When I saw the sports facilities being provided to my son were totally inadequate - I made myself an ALL GAMES COACH! We played football, rugby, handball, athletics, trekking, hill climbing, table tennis and finally the game of our country - CRICKET. As I worked with a very large group of children who became my students, it was easy to see why they were attracted to me - YOU COULD PLAY WHATEVER YOU WANTED TO.

By chance, one day I saw a basketball court very near to my son's school and since I knew the game well - I gravitated towards it. I innovated rules which allowed 100 children to divide into two teams and play the game. WE ENJOYED - but some puritans of basketball didn't like it - WE IGNORED THEM. There were, of course, some basketball players who had see been around for long - THEY LIKED MY WAY. I had introduced the concept of FUN in basketball, which otherwise seemed very boring. So, it was indeed a surprise for the club management when they found more than 80 children wanted to join the summer camp - where, earlier, hardly 15-20 children were force-sent by their parents. And, a journey began for me - when I was politely told that WE HAVE MANY CLUB MEMBERS and that I cannot bring my crowd of children there. I WAS KICKED OUT.

We went back to our football playing - trekking - and other sports. Luckily, a township of a public sector company became my next stop. For almost one year, we did sports the way no one had done earlier. I became a SPORTS SCIENTIST - I discovered methodologies that attracted children. For almost two months, we did EXCITING ATHLETICS - we even had examinations! Ha Ha. IT WAS FUN with capitals. Children just loved it - and I loved children. I had meandered into life thinking less of my business and more of the GAMES. Of course, that cannot be a part of this story.

AND THEN, we found an abandoned basketball court - hardly used, but very nicely made. It belonged to a prestigious research institute. Boldly, we started playing there - but lo behold, the security officer asked whether we were children of the staff. We weren't - so please do not come and play here. From there we went to an engineering college and were again kicked out, because the engineering college students of that college played cricket in the court. A seething anger over the injustice to my students slowly took over. But we wouldn't give up - rather, I WOULDN'T GIVE UP.

Another big public sector company had a beautiful stadium along with a very nice basketball court. Not many played basketball - so the few boys there welcomed us, because they could easily beat our team. It was 7th and 8th students versus PUC students. They enjoyed beating us - we enjoyed playing basketball. Then, a miracle took place. The Secretary, of this club, approached me and asked me if I wanted to be the coach. Anyway, every day, you bring a crowd of children - whom you coach so nicely - so why don't you do it officially. FINALLY I HAD BECOME A RECOGNIZED COACH!

PART II - Later ----

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