As I watched the Premier League last weekend, I wondered how different my life would have been if not for football.
No weekend astroturf games with the lads, no Premier league football, weekdays would mean no Champions League and moreover, no brainstorming for your weekend’s Fantasy football team, no arguing about whether Paul Pogba is worth his transfer fees and whether Jose Mourinho has lost his mojo.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how football has influenced my daily routine.
Coming from St.Mary’s, Mumbai, playing football from an early age was more of a norm than a choice – especially with two big grounds glaring at you all the time. Most of us got addicted to playing as early as the second grade (Under 8) and often played till the very last day in school.
What dawned on me after playing through the years was how football develops your personality, helping you understand what teamwork really is and allows you to exude passion for the things you enjoy in life.
Wins/draws/losses, walkovers, fouls, penalties, red cards, substitutions are some real-life characteristics that can very well be lived in 90 minutes on a football pitch.
This is what inspired me to become part of an initiative, which is now a movement called “Just for Kicks”. Whilst everyone knows what JFK does, a lot of you might want to know about some the kids who are currently being trained (and this is from my personal experience with my team – “The Worli Seaface Wolfpacks”
- Most of the children know a LOT about football and by that, I mean – support clubs, players, follow the season and have role models who they look up to (mostly Messi, Ronaldo or Pele)
- They understand the dynamics of the sport and know about most of the competitions out there including the EPL, UCL, ISL, the I-league and the World Cup
- Some of them have amazing skills (better than some of us adults) and are very excited to build their careers in sport – something which you wouldn’t see from a lot of underprivileged kids a few years back
- They’re obsessed with the sport! While dropping some kids back from an MDFA U14 match in Santacruz, I asked them their evening plans, and they mentioned playing football between 5-7 PM – This was after playing a two-hour session in the morning heat between 11-1PM.
It feels great to see this kind of energy, passion, and talent from the underprivileged in our city. Football coaching is way harder than I thought it would be, and I hope to see the JFK teams play competitive football in the upcoming SFC tournament early next year.
Finally, I’d like to leave you all with some quotes which strongly resonate my experience playing football and being associated with this initiative in the last few months, and hope they strike a chord with you.
- “Football is the ballet of the masses”
- “The ball is round, the game lasts ninety minutes, and everything else is just theory”
- “Football is war minus the shooting”
- “Behind every kick of the football, there has to be a thought”
- “You can learn a line from a win, a book from a defeat”
- “Football is God’s gift to humanity”
Team Owner – Worli Seaface Wolfpack