When I came to IIT two years ago, committing myself to a sport was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to go into research (I still do), so I thought, I don’t really need to do anything else. And that’s how my first semester went… extremely dry, boring and with screwed up academics. That’s when I started thinking – “I need to straighten my act; I have only 4 NSO hours and I have a lot of free time (which I do a very good job wasting)” – so why not try properly joining a sport.
Having been kind of inspired by Pooja Kudesia (the then Captain of the women’s tennis team) in my first semester, I decided why not try my hand at Lawn Tennis. So, it just so happened that one fine cold January morning, I just marched to the tennis court and enrolled myself at the academy. At that point of time I didn’t even think of becoming a part of the team; and honestly my only priority was to complete my NSO hours. But now I can confidently say that it was by far my best decision in IIT. And so began an amazing journey that has given me more satisfaction and memories than most things in the past two years.
I had to start from the very basic, so in the beginning all we did was perfect the swing…forehand, backhand, forehand, backhand…….and so on. It went on and on, repeating the same thing day after day. And even though my game improved at an absolute glacial pace and though initially it might seem a little boring, I was excited every time I stepped onto the court and held the racquet. The coaches also worked really hard with me, they kept on motivating us. So after six months of gruelling and hard work, I was selected in the institute team the very next semester.
I was inspired and motivated by the entire tennis team. Even though tennis is not much of a team sport, I was amazed by the amount of support received from my team members both on and off court. There are some truly amazing and exceptional players in the tennis team.
Inter-IIT 2014 was my first tennis competition and even though we did not win this time, it was a truly enriching experience and I learnt more about the game than I had learnt in the past one year. But most importantly, it gave a whole new direction and perspective to tennis and life in general. The experience was not just about playing the game, but also about the kind of people we met there, their stories, their outlook of the game, their will and determination….. Being there with the team – Pooja, Pratyusha, Vedant, Roopak and Ishwar sir and constantly learning from all of them, it opened a whole a new dimension to the game.
In the past six months, our team has worked hard and prepared well. And I’m pretty sure that the next inter-IIT tournament is going to be an even more amazing experience.
Playing a sport makes you realise things about yourself you never even imagined before. Commitment, discipline, hard work, sportsman ship, team work, dealing with pressure…..the list goes on (you know… the usual). But it also relaxes your mind and gives you satisfaction that you can’t imagine. At least that’s what tennis has done for me. I just wish that I had started playing earlier, because I know it for a fact that I’m never going to stop now.