A brilliant weekend in Hyderabad, one I will recollect with a smile every time I think about it. I was not sure if I was to take up the invite and make the trip until the very last moment, but I am very glad I did. September 15, 2018. An evening I would not want to forget. It made me realise opportunities such as these do not come by every day and much more.
I got to see many of Hyderabad’s sporting legends of the yester-years across a wide spectrum of sports in one place. The emotion that the space had will give me goose bumps each time I recall it. It was a reminder of the rich sporting heritage of not just Hyderabad but, through it, India. The journeys shared and conversations are nothing but inspiring.
The tone of the evening was set beautifully by Rajaraman, a senior sports journalist, who had a unique perspective into the awesomeness of the city where he is rooted in and from such a blessed point of view. I don’t know if there is any other sports journalist today who would have grown up watching Hyderabad’s sporting ecosystem like he has.
The conversation between him and his father Mr. N Ganesan, Hyderabad’s first Sports Journalist, joined by football scholar Novy Kapadia, was nothing short of enriching. Listening to them recollect and appreciate the selfless work of the organisations and administrators of the yesteryears along with coaches who produced champions provided insight that will be treasured.
Maxwell Trevor, a national cycling champion for around a decade recalled his coach Mumtaz with devotion. “My Ustaad was more confident in me than I was,” he said. It spoke volumes about both the champion himself and his coach. Legends like T Balram passionately and gratefully describing the faith and influence their coach, SA Rahim, had in their lives. It brought to life what the sporting culture was like in Hyderabad in the yesteryears.
“Kya din the woh! (How wonderful those days were!),” sums it up. All could feel the emotions he expressed so heartfully. It was special. He explained his coach had no ego, only confidence and would share his plan with everyone in the team, I wonder how different the ecosystem would have been if those valuable lessons were applied by every coach today. I hope we get to listen to (and or read) such valuable lessons with as much energy and honesty as there was that evening.
Here’s to eras that go by and new ones that emerge.