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Mar 25, 2009

It was interest-->beating-->love-->fascination and obsession (in the same order) for me when I talk about the beautiful game of Volleyball and my formative years with it. Having started way back in 5th or 6th standard, this is one game I would love to play even when woken up from a slumber. I had my first thud of volleyball on my hands, someday between 1994-95. I still remeber the last bell of the day that rang, and we rushed out of our VI-C classroom to meet the newly appointed PT instructor, Seetharam Sir.

While making us warm up a bit, the moment I waited for came. The ball i wanted to touch and hit on the court, but had always ended up passing it back to the seniors, donning the role of a self ordained ball-boy , hit me plonk on my face threatening to squash my nose.

Seetharam sir reminded, "court is far-away for you even to dream". 

He tossed back the ball to me after signalling me to get both my hands closer and meet the ball. I did see how it was done, but when the ball met, it was as if my hands were polio affected or something. I never seemed to get it on the center of my hands.

This drove my instructor rather wild, I guess. He walked up to me with the ball gripped in his palm as if he were holding a tennis ball, and asked me to bring my hands into position where ball is met. No sooner I did that, he literally beat my hands up making sure I knew where it was, that he wanted me to meet the ball. He did it with such gusto, that made tears swell up my eyes. I don't remember what made it not roll down my cheeks, but it sure did make Seetharam sir notice it. All of a sudden, he turned from this monstrous being to a tender giant and kissed me on my cheek tending solace.

Do you think this made any difference to me? If you thought it did, you are damn right. Made a hell of a difference, and miraculously the ball never again missed my other hand. Thus my first lessons on volleyball lead me further to the competitive mold of enthralling volleyball.

[Btw, this is going to be a long post I realise as i write.... ]

As time progressed, things moved on and i realised the passion in the game. The more i played it on a competitive level, the more i started getting obsessed with it. Had the fortune of playing with some amazing boys and girls. Crusaders during 8th to 10th were people like Gowda Sir, Bashya, Anil and others.

Time further moved on and we were back in bangalore. During my 11th and 12th i realised how much power a sport has. It just takes minutes, to break the strongest of the teams when a position of power and leadership is open for grabs. At this kind of age, it is truly to show one's supremacy in the game I guess that makes individual act the way they do. I did start experiencing such things right from 10th when I made a break away league in the crave for cricket captaincy. 

Coming back to 11th and 12th, those were days when we juniors played against seniors and beat them at that many a times. Classes were just an excuse, an excuse to spend some of the most memorable moments of the day between lunch-break and post class hours. Our college used to be a quadrangular structure with classrooms running upto 3 floors and the volleyball court right in the middle of it all. So whenever there was a game on, there would definitely be more than a few non-playing eye balls on us, giving us more reasons to strut it out there. 
Some great buddies at this phase were Deepu, Abhilash, Arun, Sridhar[What serve you had boss], Sathya, Sandy, Vikas, Pavan and of course MKS Sir[Apart from his sudden drops on the court, I always wanted to learn using the blackboard like he does, bloody brilliant !!!]

During graduation the game, took a backseat, as other priorites in life became exciting. The other gender suddenly became an exciting topic for us all. But of course, when the sports day came, all the old experience just comes back, and you play for the joy of it. We had a pretty competent team in our class of 20 or so people in Baby, Vikram, Samarth, Babu, Ady, Vinay(so-so :P) and a few others. Though we dint win the tournament we sure did everything in(volleyball) and out(cricket) of the spirit of sports .

I think the best years of volleyball for any non/semi-professional would be from 8th Standard to end of Graduation unless you have good infrastructure at your disposal.

Thus amidst all these oblivious pleasures of student life, never realised when the corporate saga began. Of course, the love of the game ensured that I took some initiatives at workplace, but it seemed limited until MS-Outlook.  Such is my love for the game, that I also went to give my sister's school team some practice hits before their match. 

Now, why so much nostalgia you might think?

Of late, I got my chance to play volleyball at my friends apartment complex and also there is this huge wish of mine, of wanting to pull away from traffic near a playground where volleyball is being played, and just go play not caring about who, whether, why etc.... 

Yesterday I did just that...   Well that's because some things never change.

Shoot... Ido... Rakh

[Post Dedication: To all those who spent time on the court with me and etched some everlasting memories]


anup kumar said...

well written mate

Shweta said...

Wonderful post sanju. Such passions were so mesmerising. I miss the strenous competitions during my school days with visiting schools like Doon school & Welhams from dehradun , Mayo from Ajmer + many more.
That zeal has gone missing in those large conference rooms of corporate companies now. Its gd to have past memories come rushing sumtimes & leave us with their magical touch.

Nona said...

A long post. Nevertheless, enjoyed reading it and found something about you. :)

prady said...

hmmm.... :)

Sanju said...

@Anup, Thanks mate.
@Shweta, so true.
@Nona, Sometimes with topics of my interest I get descriptive, and just go on and with it. Am Glad you found 'something' about me.

Sanju said...

@Prady, I know you must be thinking... aste na antha, Since you have been such a gifted sportsperson :) and what not :P