School days were a golden period in my life, and I shall cherish them forever. I was in the fifth standard when I rode to school on a bicycle along with my friend who was two years senior to me. Apart from gaining knowledge in school, chats with her on the way to school and back home used to be an add on to my knowledge base. It was during one such conversation with her that I was introduced and fascinated by the game of Volleyball. She played for the school team and I too decided to learn the game and be a part of the school team. Initial days of learning were a bit tough as wrists turned red with pain. But then, I started taking interest in the game.
A few days later, there was an open tournament in a village and I was the youngest player then. The ground was packed with a cheering audience and all were surprised to see a young girl like me competing with older players. We made it to the finals and every time, it was my turn to serve the ball, there used to loud cheers of appreciation from the audience. Those memories still bring tears of joy in my eyes. I was given a special prize of Rs one hundred and one for playing well which boosted my confidence even further. I felt so happy that day as for the first time; I was recognized as a good player. My parents further added joy by celebrating my happy moment.
From then on, there was no looking back. I used to practice twice a day. I went early to school and stayed back after school to play the game which had now become my passion. My parents supported me very well; else I wouldn’t be who I am today.
The game of volleyball had brought a lot of positive things in my life. Fitness was my new mantra. Self-confidence, enthusiasm, new friends, enhanced sleep and alertness, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership qualities started reflecting in me. It made me feel fresh and improved my concentration in studies. It also increased my appetite and kept me healthy. The most touching moments were when some passers-by recognized me for the game I play. I was literally on cloud nine.
I have been playing this game for almost 15 years now and will continue to play. In this journey, I attended two nationals and was adjudged “University Blue” for five years during graduation and post-graduation. I also captained the VTU team at the inter-university level. During school days, I bagged a couple of best smasher trophies in inter-school tournaments and emerged as Best Sports Girl in school in our batch.
Being in love with this game also gave me an opportunity to deliver guest lectures at JNMC (Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College) for USM (Universiti Sans Malaysia) students about the game of volleyball. It was also a proud feeling when I was invited as a chief guest for a school annual sports day function. That day, it was more special as I was on the other side of the dais addressing young minds.
While writing this article, I discovered some more advantages of playing volleyball. Just to list a few
1. Improves cardiovascular health
2. Improves muscular system
3. Improves joint health
4. Helps in weight management.
5. Improves hand-eye coordination
6. Enhances reflexes & reaction time
7. Develops agility, speed, coordination, stamina & flexibility
8. Improves core strength, flexibility & speed
9. Improves muscular stabilizer strength
10. Increases metabolic rate
11. Enhances aerobic capacity
12. Enhances energy levels
1. Social interaction & enhanced sense of happiness & belongingness
2. Reduces stress & anxiety
3. Improves one’s mood
4. Develops self-esteem & boosts confidence
5. Improves communication skills
6. Cognitive stimulation & functioning
7. Take initiative
8. Develop emotional connections
9. Teaches accountability
10. Motivation & the drive to succeed
Even today, when I see children in a tracksuit or a volleyball court, I am at a different emotional level. I instantly feel like thronging the court and join them in playing. In love with this game till my heart stops beating.
Prof Minal Patil
Jain College of Engineering Belagavi