Hey, have you all heard of my prowess in sports and all the great sports stories I’ve had? No????? Well, that’s because I have none. Alas, this short and stout tambram is not exactly a sporting icon of any sort. When it came to sports day, I generally played the role of the jester a.k.a the chubby boy who ran like a baby Rhino. My prowess on the sports field has been limited to falling down, tripping over my own thighs, stopping 7 seconds into the race for a breather and have the team pass me on their second lap, and much more. With regard to sports, the only game I have been tolerably decent at is football. I stank at tennis and table tennis. Basketball and volleyball skills are appalling. Hell, I even suck at carom and chess. Let’s not even get started on cricket.
Needless to say, the obstacle race wasn’t any fun to me either. Alas, it’s boring when you have all super athletes clocking records and what not, one does require some comical relief. Send in the fat boy so that he may get stuck in the tire. Anyway, after many years of long painful sports moments worthy of YouTube (thank god it came into vogue after I hung up my running shoes) I accepted my place among the nimble and the quick as ‘the bulky and slow’.
Always being the chubby boy, you tend to get picked last for everything. But then, everyone has some place in the world, and my place was soon discovered when I was picked last. The guy who was picked last was generally made to be the goalkeeper. And yours truly, until recently was one the most formidable goal keepers of his time. I remember way back in class 3, the first sport that I was exposed to was Hockey. We were all made to stand in a line. While the rest of the boys stood proudly with their hockey sticks, chest out, shoulders straight, at the end of the line stood a cute little chubby boy ( remember from previous posts…I was cute!!!) who really didn’t care about what was going on and generally stared at the sky thinking about lunch. Coach comes up and looks at the line, chubby boy not aware of what was going on; in any case, he was going to be picked last. A name is called. Chubby boy still thinking about lunch. Next minute the chubby boy is rudely woken up from his day dream by the coach throwing a tennis ball at him. Coach scream, “ Nikhilesh, wake up. Come here! Put these gloves on. You are first!”
“What ????” thinks the chubby boy, “Me??? First????” There must be something wrong…maybe it is an example of how ‘not to play hockey’. Much to the boy’s surprise, he was actually picked first. That was it, the start of a great career, gold medal for the Indian Olympic team, day dreaming continues. Boy is rudely awoken once again with a ball being hurled at him at near break-neck speed. Boy ducks to save life ! Coach screams, “Boy, you are fat….you are the goal keeper. Your job is to stop it. I am sure you can take a beating or two…stand still”.
And with those golden taunts began the only sporting career I have had. ‘Chak De India’ moment…ain’t it???? I made quite the decent goal keeper in hockey. The same continued into football. Last guy picked was the keeper. Soon enough I got a reputation of being THE keeper teams wanted and chubby boy was being picked first. Pretty soon, I got bored of the role of being ‘The original wall’ (Sorry Dravid) and soon moved up to defence. Now, you won’t believe it, but back in the day, I was quite the defender. I knew where my feet were and where the ball was; I knew instinctively where people would pass and where to pass myself. Great ball control. Except the fact that I could not run too fast, or if I did manage to pick up speed, the momentum made it difficult to stop. Still, one of the best defenders in the school team. Wasn’t too bad at college either. Soon enough, chubby boy gets drafted into the office team. All goes well until Chubby boy one day believes he is a striker.
Nothing like people believing that they are something great, but then there is something called physical limitations. It’s kind of like if a cow actually believes it is the one in the nursery rhyme and tries to jump over the moon, alas it will fall. In similar fashion, this Rhino fell too ; ripping a few nerves in the leg. Out of action for two years. I’m back playing football, a game I claimed to know. I am playing like a total newbie, making all the fundamental mistakes of passing, kicking, running. It is nearly disgraceful. I ought to quit while the rest of the football players have some respect for me, but then, like John Nash says, ‘with every attempt, my chances of winning drastically improve’. Thank the lord I have understanding people who still ask me to come and play, even though they know I am going to mess up. Back to being picked last. Full circle….what goes around….takes an elliptical orbit around the fat guy….So here it is, the great sportsman has forgotten to play the only game he knows to play and is now officially pathetic. Some men were made for sports, some men were made for intellect and then there was I. Sports just is not for some people.