Football, Frolic and Fun

The ides of July will be a day to remember always. Soccer for Child Rights, at last, and my first soccer event at CRY making it all the more enthralling. Soccer has always been synonymous with excitement, nerve-wrecking minutes, all the dramatics, and high-octane energy; add an underlying cause to the game that unites more than half the world and you have Soccer for Child Rights. With an ideology of ensuring that children, not as privileged as you and I, are entitled to their basic rights, Soccer for Child Rights over the years has made wonders, a truth I have learnt as a CRY volunteer.

It was an anxious wait for the D-Day and what a day it turned out to be. The whole event was chalked out with precision, executed with perfection and each one of us lived it with a sense of celebration. The weather Gods had blessed us with the right dosage of rain clouds, almost right swish and sway of winds, a drizzle, only accentuating the thrill. Endless cups of ginger tea and samosas and planning the next course of events over it. The corporate teams to our own SCSTEDS teams were no less than professionals, and are, indeed, flag bearers of beautiful football. The games had each one of us on the edge of our seats, cheering for our favourite teams, joyously screaming to harmless bickering. The cheers at a goal, the little celebrations, the dismay at a miss, the theatrics, the yellow and red cards, chasing the ball, defending, attacking, corners. And the twelve hour wait for the final was worth everything put together. The final battle between Northern Trust and Oracle was no less than clash of the titans. At the end of the match it was 0-0, no goals in the extra time either calling for a penalty shoot-out! Could this have gotten any better? The teams drew at the penalty shoot-out too and we found ourselves in the situation of a sudden death! Distant rumbling thunder, grey orange clouds, utter silence except for the whistle of the referee and emerged a winner! Yes, we may have had a single winner in the tournament but were you to ask of me, every team was a winner for they played their hearts and souls out for a cause we hold dear to. We had three girls team battling it out and like someone rightly said they are the superior sex! It was a proud moment for each one of us when John  announced that one of our SCSTEDS children is representing the country in Under-23, another has made it to the Civil Services and every child has aced the board examinations.

Certainly you cannot judiciously follow what you plan verbatim; yet, it is the unplanned events, chaotic at first, that add a different dimension. We had volunteers backing out but we had replacements. We had the wrong memory card for the right camera but we missed not a moment. We had the celebrities backing out but the excitement never tumbled. We almost lost a bag, but we found it. The wind caused the separation between the two grounds to tumble and fall with a thud but we stayed put holding the barricade with all our might! I remember interacting with the several teams and they were all praises about the flawless execution, the detailed planning, team managers, little to no delays, equally aggressive and strong teams. Tired and sweaty we all were at the end of the game, but not one unhappy face. And it would not be wrong when I claim that this is what brings every volunteer, every intern, every CRY employee, every donor, everybody associated with CRY to participate and contribute.


Parikhit Dutta, CRY Volunteer, Bangalore

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