Sports has played an indelible role in my life and surprisingly, I have my parents to thank for it. I’ll tell you how!
Table Tennis came early in my life, when I was in primary school. My father used to play TT in his college days and thought I would find it interesting too. Luckily, I did, and the sport caught on like a house on fire. We started with playing TT on the dining table, using old books and VCRs as net. We soon bought a new TT table, which witnessed umpteen afternoons hit by the small, yellow ball.
Tennis, on the other hand, was never supposed to be my sport. It just happened to me accidently. While flipping through sports channels, I once came across the Best of Wimbledon show on Star Sports. I loved how Federer was playing and smashing his opponents, so much that it was enough to keep me hooked to that show for hours. I had to choose a sport as a part of the IIT Bombay curriculum soon and my father, noticing my obsession with that TV show, said, “Why don’t you try Tennis?”
A lot of people dismiss sports as just another recreational activity but it’s not. I have learnt and grown a lot from sports –
- The biggest learning that sports offered me is perseverance. You can’t win everything in life and TT was the first one to teach me that. But it also taught me that if I respond positively to failure, by putting in hard work instead of getting sad about it, I am much more likely to be successful in the future. It was probably because of that attitude of Never give up, developed from sports that I could do well even in academics.
- My second takeaway from both the sports I played has been patience. In this fast-age world, where the youth is addicted to getting everything instantly, the seven years that I played TT taught me that it requires great time and effort to be really good at something.
- TT and Tennis are very different sports, but both have helped build my focus stronger. Sports is a high adrenaline activity so the time that you are involved in it, you are completely concentrated, focused only on performing the best you can without any distraction. I could feel my mind coming out clearer and sharper after that daily 2-hour sessions on Tennis.
- While TT has made my mental reflexes stronger, Tennis has made me fitter physically. Both have also taught the value of team work which is very necessary in the working phase of life.
- When I used to come home after board exams, I used to play TT for two hours before starting to study for the next exam. It helped my mind relax, freshen up and start studying with new energy.
In this highly competitive world out there, perseverance, patience and focus are very essential life skills required for your children to win. And what better way to teach them than sports, which is a fun way of learning! So go send your kid to the nearest sports academy and watch him thank you twenty years later for making him so successful. Just like I am thanking my father for those long TT sessions at home!