Ever seen anyone transform from being disconnected with a sport to being a passionate follower of the same game? Here is the story of Udeept Bhatnagar (Gold Award participant) from Delhi Public School Gurgaon, who fell in love with a beautiful game.
The 2006 Football World Cup is the reason for my enthusiasm for the sport, the quarter final between England and Portugal in particular. Mesmerized by Cristiano Ronaldo’s moves and conflicted because of the controversial sending off of Wayne Rooney helped me discover my love of football, even though only eight years old at the time I knew that I had found something I loved. The excitement of watching the players on the pitch hold possession of the ball and threaten to score at any minute found a way into my heart. The International Award for Young People (IAYP) programme gave me the motivation to actually start playing football. I was enthusiastic about the sport but never really played the game, leisure playing with my friends was all the experience that I possessed and the IAYP helped me hone my football skills.
Once I started playing I started watching matches more critically, I tried to copy them; how they controlled the ball, how they ran with it and how they seemed to know what their team mates would do next. My passion for the game grew stronger after that, and no matter what it is the one thing that I have always found time for. I have represented my school in football on three occasions and I would rate myself as a decent player if not a good one which is a long way from being unknown to the details of the game. All of my waking moments beyond studying are dedicated to the beautiful game, be it on the field, be it on the watching a match or be it on the computer playing FIFA games. The International Award for Young People actually helped me realize my potential as a football player, also showed me why football is such a beautiful game.