The friend asks, “Coach, what about Internationals? You were so good, then what stopped you from becoming international Champion?” The Coach smiles and says,”There is something more than competence which decides your career. My stars seem to play with me at that moment. I will tell you the whole story. I was attending the national camp which was being held at National Institute of Sports, Patiala. After becoming national Champion, I was very confident of making a mark in internationals. I started practicing a lot harder. I started improvising my own styles after closely observing the game of international Boxers. Finally, it was announced that we need to get ready for International Championship at Jakarta, Indonesia. We were already getting prepared for it and the paraphernalia like our dresses, visas etc was also getting arranged. A day before leaving for Jakarta,the Chief Coach came and gave a very motivating address to all the boxers. After his talk, he called me aside and said that I was not going for the games.
I was shocked at first instance and I thought he would be kidding. I said that everything was prepared Sir and the flight was also scheduled for the next day. I was actually shocked to listen to his reply. He told that my South Indian Coach had troubled him a lot when he was his assistant. I told him that sir whatever is there between my coach and you is a matter between you and him. Please don’t spoil my life for the rivalry which was prevalent between you both. He said that I didn’t know how the game works but now I was surely getting it to know.
That day I couldn’t muster the courage to see other boxers pack their bags while my own life seemed to be in doldrums. All the hard work had gone into vain. It was the first time when I cried so heavily while constantly staring at the boxing ring. I called up my wife and told her. She said that come back home. She thought it is time that I need to forget what had happened and be at peace for sometime but I felt the need to ask the selectors the reason for excluding me. The Chief Coach cannot be whimsical about selection. Some meritocracy should prevail. I went to the selection committee and asked that what was the reason for my rejection.There was only one answer “Hard Luck!”
For next three years, I was in national camp but each time the same story got repeated. I finally came back to Hyderabad and joined the job with central government organization. I was completely dejected.My family too was sad but they were more worried about my sadness. My wife used to constantly talk to me and tried to make sense of what was happening.Her version was that if what we expect does not happen, then it means that some divine power has a plan for us.And plan made by divine power should definitely be better than ours. I accepted the reality and tried to make good out of my job.
I started coaching boxers of the organization in which I got the job.The organization used to play at national level as a separate entity. So, any player whom I used to train could have a chance to play national games. I started putting my whole hearted effort into Coaching.The results started pouring in.My team first triumphed in the region and then in the nationals.I started finding solace in seeing others win and me becoming a partner in their win.But,the life it seems still wanted to play another bout with me.
The friend of the coach is now completely silent. He musters courage and says, “I feel sorry for those individuals who use the system to settle the personal scores. There is not much surprise that our system does not produces great sportspersons.”The Coach says.”I was a national level boxer and ultimately, I landed at a place where people would think that I used sports quota to get the job.No, I wanted to always play boxing.I didn’t play boxing to get a government job.I played boxing to win a medal for my country but I was not aware that my own fraternity would fiddle with my career”.
The situation is tense and waiter who is observing both of them thinks it is right time to break the conversation and give the two gentlemen a cup of coffee.”Coffee Sir!”, says the Waiter. Both of them now start laughing and appreciate the observant nature of the Waiter. “So, you are a boxing player and a boxing coach so why did you leave boxing and came to lawn tennis”. The coach says, “The conspiracy is still left my friend. It is that conspiracy which totally broke me away from Boxing.”Both started drinking coffee while trying to reflect if they could go in the past and change the story.
The Conspiracy will be revealed in the next part ‘The Boxing Ring :Bout Four’