I still remember the hot summer Saturdays, when schools were off and I along with my brother’s friends used to run towards the backyard to play cricket. It might be strange that I was the only girl in the crew because cricket was the game of boys in those days. I had only male siblings, and fortunately, they were ready to take me in their team while playing nearby. I believe that was my first encounter with sports.
However, as time elapsed, I could not retain a strong relation with sports. As per the conservative society, young girls playing with boys would be a big “NO”. Therefore, playing cricket and jumping around on the streets became a childhood story. Nonetheless, being a small school in my hometown, there were inter-house sports week organized. I do not know what drive me back then, but on grade nine, I participated on a volleyball competition. I must say there were a lot of good players, who could receive and pass well than I did, but I was still counted in the team. Maybe the Physical Education teacher trusted on my servicing skills. And I did not let him down. I clearly remember on the finals, I served 3-4times in a row and contributed score for my team. Nothing could be rewarding than your friends and teachers praising for you. All the swellings and pain on my hands due to practice were paid off when our team won the second place. Well! After that match, I could not continue volleyball because it was not taught in school and I began preparing for my board exams.
That was one drawback studying in a small town back then because there were not many opportunities for sports. This reminds me of my friend because of whom I could learn how to hit the shuttle with the racket. Once I visited her house and I saw the racket lying on her desk. I asked if she knows how to play and to my surprise, she answered she played with her family. I felt a bit embarrassed to not know how to play. However, she took me to the open grassland nearby her home and taught me to play. The shuttle fell the first time I tried to shoot, fell again, fell another time – I was already giving hope. Finally once I could hit back then I tried again. I felt happy and began playing with her whenever the school finished early. Yet I could not continue it for the long time. Her family left the city and she was transferred into another school.
Playing sports was already out of my mind before I got an opportunity to study at Asian University for Women (AUW). To be candid, one of the reasons I chose to come at AUW was because I was fascinated by the prospectus of the university that covered a whole section about sports such as karate, volleyball, basketball, and badminton. Karate was very new to me, and I was enthusiastic to learn. I am glad I could learn the basic moves and earn a yellow belt. Similarly, I learned volleyball and badminton as my PE courses and played during the sports meet.
Volleyball and badminton was already familiar to me, but the most wonderful experience I had after joining AUW was the being in a basketball team. I was never excited about playing basketball and it was not popular enough in my hometown either. One morning I saw my friends gathering and swinging balls, throwing back and forth. I thought it was not my cup of tea. My friends forced me to come to practice and I could not unhappy them. One day practice would not be a big deal. In the court, we did some drills on passing, shooting, and dribbling. At the end, the coach came to me and said you play nice; why don’t you come to the regular practice. I was happy to hear her comments. I am not sure if I was able to impress her, but I surely enjoyed the drills. Eventually, basketball added to my list of sports.
In no time, I started playing in a team and participated on basketball matches with other schools. Another great achievement through basketball was the AUW Basketball Summer Project. Through this project, I contributed my skills of basketball to teach the young girls in Nepal. In this project, along with eight other team members, I coached around 10 girls and emphasized on their interpersonal development to combat the stereotypes regarding women and sports in Nepal. Indeed, the two months long project helped me grow my leadership skills and build up my confidence that sports can also be a medium for social development. All the laughter and cries I shared with my students became one of the invaluable memories that basketball gave me.
Since then, basketball became an integral part of my life. After a tough selection, I made to the Varsity team under a new coach. After being on the team, I understood that basketball was not all about how perfect you are in shooting or dribbling; it was far more than that. It was about team work. It was about friendship. It was about stamina and hard work. During my membership in the Varsity team, I learned more about sportsmanship. How coordination among the team members lead to success. In fact, I could achieve many appreciation and praises through basketball that made me feel so proud.
Our life is like a game, when you have determination and hard work you succeed. When you do not communicate properly, you develop misunderstandings. All of the sports I played have helped me strengthen my relation or feel proud for I am, whether it was the cricket match, where I was the only girl player or the friendship that build stronger with each badminton practice I had with my friend. Similarly, playing basketball taught me that life is all about perseverance and willpower to achieve your goal. Now, I really miss playing basketball after taking a yearlong break from it. However, I am looking forward to the days when I will shout out load again, “Basketball, I love it, I love it, I love it.”