St. Augustin High School, Sector – 11, Nerul, Navi Mumbai. My school versus the home team. All the players and our coach are tensed. Net in this volleyball court is 4 inches higher than the net at our school where the team had practiced. This is a first match of the knock-out inter-school volleyball championship. Scoreboard reads 4-15.
There I am standing with my 6’2″ tall body, beside the court with other team extras. Coach walks to me and orders, “You playing at Anand’s”.
“Are you nuts? Anand is the captain”, I tried speaking but words wouldn’t find the way out.
I often see myself playing on the net, easily blocking smashes, placing a few myself, scoring points for my team in that very match. No, not in the dreams, but in bright day light when I am thinking about it. I wish I had said yes that day and had not frozen to death with the thought of Playing-in. At the captain’s position? For an Extra this was too much to believe at that moment.
No need to mention, we lost. And we lost badly. My coach nor anyone else spoke to me about that incidence after that. After that, till date I have never tuned down any opportunity to play Volleyball. Be it picnics, free lectures during my graduation or annual competitions, I have played them all. But whats the use. You don’t play inter-school championships everyday. The moment I regret the most is passed and cannot be re-lived and changed.
It was evident, we would have lost in any case, me or not me. What did I think when I said no? I was scared to lead a losing team? I did not have any glory in past to lose with that match. I was mere an extra. No it wasn’t the fear of losing. It was just a fear, fear of playing. I was not ready. After weeks of practice of being an extra, it was very difficult for me to go in.
Me going in and bringing in the victory to us would have only been possible with magical wand. Well, without me also the victory to us would have asked for the same wand anyways. May be that is why the coach wanted to experiment? Was it a test for me for the upcoming tournaments? If I had played even on an average level, I would have had a chance to be ‘in’ for the next tournament? May be that would have been a start? Start of a new Me. More confident Me. ‘Bring it to on’ attitude Me.
Not that I did not have that start later in my life. But then it would have been earlier, much earlier.
One thing is for sure. I will not be able to forget this incidence in my life. And that is what now makes me never say a no for any challenge.
For now that I know, what worse can happen is, I’ll lose. But after all, not trying is the worst of it all, isn’t it?