02 July 1987

Tuff Enuff United

Here's another one about sports - cricket this time.. This may be getting boring and somewhat repetitive for you as a reader (making a very big assumption here - that you have read more than one posting in my blog). But the reality for me is that I have learnt so many of my "life's lessons" from sport.

I had the most exciting summer of my life in 1987 or was it 88, the year is not that important.

I had my cousin, Rajan staying over for that summer and between alok, him, venkat (alok's friend), anurag (another cousin) and myself - we just had the greatest time. We played every sport possible - indoors and outdoors and did much else that need not be mentioned here. Tennis ball cricket, stick hockey on the chhat (terrace), cricket in the backyard, tennis ball football in the bedroom, 5-man tennis-ball football in the passage (its impossible to explain how this worked in words), regular football / cricket in the park, Street cricket, frisbee football, rugby with a football..... We tried and enjoyed everything !

The concept of tennis ball cricket was very new at the time..... So we got together and organised a tournament and invited teams from other areas too. I think we got about 4 or 5 teams. We called our team "Tuff Enuff United".

All the matches are a blur and have now merged into each other in my head and I have the brightest memories from this little one-week tournament - our own World Cup.

All 4 of the other members on my team were better than me (only because they were older!) And I was the passenger.... So the few times that I did something spectacular sticks in my head well. I remember playing one game just after it had rained, with puddles and slush all over the ground... Taking a catch with a full-length dive to my left is a vivid memory. I landed splattered in a huge puddle (almost a little lake I thought at the time)... Drenched head to toe in muddy water yet felt like a million bucks!

Another time in the semi-final, we were chasing a really low score and all 4 of the 'senior' members of the team were out and we needed 7 runs to win... I was alone in there - stressed and trying hard to concentrate. Seems really funny now, but I was convinced it was life-defining at the time. I was repeatedly singing the Duran Duran song 'Meet El Presidente' to myself to stay focussed. It was tremendous - calming my nerves. Bowler bowled a no ball and I hit a 6 over covers to win the game - on top of the world. Couldnt sleep for days because of the excitement.... Such are the simples joys of a simpler time. Made me understand the importance of mental discipline and concentration, being single-minded and focussed is so crucial to getting things done.

We went on to win the tournament.. World Champions - errrr, sort of.

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