With his iPad in hand, Suraj drifted off to sleep. A few moments later when his mother walked in, she looked at Suraj and thought to herself, “This boy and his iPad! They seem like conjoined twins!”
Slowly taking away the iPad she saw that he was playing his favorite hockey game. She grinned and said, “My son, the ace hockey player! Alas! Only if he would play football in real life rather than just on videogames.”
Suraj loved playing hockey, but he was a videogame junkie. He had never stepped on to a field and never intended doing so. His school routine had made him so sluggish that even when he got a chance to play, he wouldn’t. He spent all his free time playing games on gadgets.
One day in school it was announced that the students were going to have a special lesson on Life Skills. When the teacher entered the class, she asked each of them about their aspirations. Students around the class went on listing their dreams, Suraj too pitched in saying he wanted to become a famous hockey player. As the teacher listened intently, after everyone had finished, she asked them to note down two things. The first being the skills required to achieve their dream and the second, the means to achieve their aspirations. The students had never done this exercise before and it turned out to be quite brain racking! A little while later, the teacher announced that each one had to come forth and read whatever they had written, to the whole class. One by one, each student went forward and did so and soon it was Suraj’s turn.
As Suraj took to the stage his teacher asked, “Suraj, you want to be a hockey player, right? A famous one?”
Suraj nodded his head in agreement with the teacher.
She continued, “Tell me then, what skills are required to mould you into one?”
Suraj replied, “Ma’am, strength, perseverance, a one pointed focus on the game, speed, decision making, etc.”
Thrilled with Suraj’s response she beamed, “That’s correct! Have you applied any of these skills in pursuing your dream?”
Honestly, Suraj answered, “No, ma’am. I can’t say that I have.”
The teacher then gestured to Suraj to take his seat and began, “Kids, you must all understand that sports builds character. Right from being disciplined to instilling confidence in you, sports does it all. Suraj, if you wish to see yourself as a hockey player, it is imperative that you start on that path today. You need to mould yourself when you’re young. I know you love playing videogames related to the sport but playing the actual sport will show you how different these two experiences are. If that really is a dream you want to achieve, you’re going to have to start today.”
The teacher’s words left a deep impact on Suraj’s thoughts. He’d always started practicing, but never saw it through because he used to feel lazy.
That night he asked his mother, “Mom, do you really think I can become a hockey player?”
Patting his head lovingly she replied, “Of course, you can be anything you want to be. You just have to work hard for it. If you really want to become a hockey player, I suggest you enroll in your school’s sports team.” Mulling over his mother’s advice, he went off to sleep.
The next morning was a holiday. He woke up and decided that he would go for a jog.
Returning from his jog he told his mother, “Mom! I’ve decided! I am going to pursue my dream and I’m going to do that by playing hockey at least once a week with my friends.”
His mother gleamed on hearing this and raved, “That’s a good plan, son! Keep it up!”
Suraj resolved to get stronger with exercise every day. Though the first few months were tough and he really wanted to give up on some days, his mother’s and friends’ encouraging words kept him going on. Weeks passed into months and with regular exercise and practice, Suraj had become a fitter version of himself. He was getting better at the game too. His idea of sports had slowly moved from the screen to the field. One day at school, he got to know that the sports team was having hockey tryouts and he decided to participate. He was eager to get on the team, but was also scared because the other players were much better form than him. Nonetheless, he tried and to his surprise was chosen to be a part of the team! That day was a monumental day in Suraj’s life. He was one step closer to achieving his longstanding dream of becoming a great hockey player.
A year on, Suraj was still gung ho about sports and had represented his school in various domestic matches. His game had improved a lot due to practice, but the real change had manifested in him as an individual. The earlier sluggish Suraj had given way to an active, disciplined boy. He was going strong in school, both at sports and studies. A month before the school was about to break for the summer holidays, Suraj’s coach summoned him to his cabin. As Suraj sat in front of his coach, unnerved about the reason he was called, his coach handed out a paper to him.
When Suraj read the words on the paper, his eyes almost popped out and he blabbered, “Scholarship! For a month!”
Suraj’s coach let out a hearty laugh and said, “Yes, son. You’re one of our most consistent players and as a coach it is my duty to hone your talent. Hence, I chose you to represent us at the month long training. You’ve improved with every game and have really shown the students that with hard work, perseverance and determination you can set out to acquire your goals.”
And so, the next one month turned out to be the best month of Suraj’s life. He was in hockey heaven and needless to say, all his dreams had finally come true.
- monumental – important
- perseverance – hard work
- longstanding – ever present