'Football for Social Change' A TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FOUNDATION AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS BHARAT INITIATIVE
As a kid, I used to go to the park each day, sit on the bench and watch the boys playing football. Little did I know that football would have such a huge influence on my life. It has never been 'just a game' for me, but life itself. No matter how dull the day was or how difficult the things were, being on the pitch was the perfect rejuvenator I could ever have.
As i grew up, and got exposure to football through media , I started wondering, probably like many others that why is India nowhere on the football map? Why is it not a career option for kids? Why do parents feel cricket is the only sport that has a future? The answer was simple, cricket was indeed the only sport with a 'future'. This very thought of mine strengthened me to contribute to Football in India. To further give wings to my imagination, when I was asked to participate in "Football for Social Change", the key to unlock all my desires was staring me right at my face.
India Spurs and Special Olympics Bharat took the initiative to have coaches from Tottenham Hotspur Foundation in India. The event was conducted at Goa, Gujarat, Kolkata and Haryana. I attended the 3 day workshop at Gurgaon, Haryana. The experience was thrilling, something which made me confident of my abilites more.
The first two days were a mix of classroom sessions and practice sessions on the pitch. Classrooms sessions were very interactive as THF's Daniel Slaughter and Gareth Jones held lots of discussions on various approaches one can apply while coaching. The presentations and videos were particularly helpful, because in India, the approach to coaching is something different. So it was interesting to be introduced to new views which I am sure will go a long way in helping the coaches as well as the athletes.
The practice sessions on the pitch were about putting our classroom sessions into practice. The intensity of these sessions by Dan, Gareth and Khurrum was high and a lot of new ideas were put across. Which we had to make use of while planning sessions for athletes of the special olympics on day 3.
Day 3 was probably the best for me, because we trained the special athletes. There was a sense of achievement, but more than that, I was happy ; happy to see them smile, happy to see them enjoy,happy to know that I could make a difference, that after all these years football gave such a mental satisfaction to me. I was able to bring smiles to their faces through the game.
I have been playing professionally for years now, but that moment was something very different, or precisely, speacial. Not just me, every single soul present over there had a smile on their face, the difference was made. This event was a great success and the credit goes to everyone at India Spurs, Special Olympics Bharat and Tottenham Hotspurs Foundation who worked extremely hard at the event and behind the scenes to make it possible. I have always believed that football in India needs a change, and it has to begin right from the grassroot level. This is the beginning of the change that was needed. Hopefully everyone share the same views and work even harder and bring about the change we have visioned.
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