Sometimes the unexpected team that forms wins—this does not indicate that the team is lucky; it just means that the years of experience, passion to win, and team effort come together and resonate higher. That may be the case for our team, or for all of the teams who competed. Our team's formation was unintentional. It was planned to some extent, but a few teams were unable to register since they believed the sports festival would not take place because the office would go virtual from the next day.
After a few weeks, we receive the tie-sheet and the competition's venue. We were surprised because we have our first match in two days and no one knows who the team's players are. Many of the players were out of valley since it was the season of work from home. As a result of the unexpected notice, we formed a hybrid cricket and futsal squad, with myself as the sole female member of both teams.
So, it was my first day at futsal. The venue that we booked for our prior training was the same for our competition. The session was worthwhile. The most amazing part of the game was compulsion for female to stay in the ground for first half of the game i.e, 10 minutes. I felt confident enough to stay in the ground for my training session and learn about some of the key players who could have been on the team if they had been in the valley.
The next day was our match day. Our team comprised of Ashin dai, Tek Dai, Paras Dai, Aashish (the keeper), Pradeep, Sabin Dai and me. During our first play, I was supposed to stay in our half of the ground and make sure to block anyone with the ball that comes into the area. I didn't have to do much effort because Tek dai, Ashin dai, and Sabin dai worked together to keep the opponent busy on their own half of the ground. And I could hear goals from our side, time and again, by Ashin dai, by Sabin dai, and Tek dai as well. Our opponent team managed to breach on our side at one point, and I made sure to block the opponent's path by standing in front of him as he was chasing his ball that was out of reach of his body. That was one fantastic defensive method I remember the players doing when playing basketball, looking naive and not allowing the ball to go to the incorrect hand (leg..).
In our next match, I could sense that the tide of the energy has changed. Our team had played one game before, but the rival’s game with us would make their count to three. The opponent scored their first goal as soon as Sabin dai Aashish warned about the impending first rush towards the post. The charge was to the point, soft and quick, and we only realize what had happened after we took a goal. There is a saying that whichever team manages to make a strike for the first time, there exists a sense of imbalance. However, in our case, we did not reach that feeling of imbalance, as the action was so quick and immediate that we the opponent took another goal. This was a movement of realization that we are far away from our target. The female member in the opponent team was highly energetic and active, and I was supposed to man her throughout the first half of the game (in offense and defense) to minimize her movement. But it was not enough. Well, this time I believe I was not able to contribute much to the team. We returned our home as soon as we lose the game.
Our cricket match was planned on the following Saturday. I was unable to attend the training session scheduled for the day before, Friday, since I decided it would be best to rest an injury caused by strain in my right leg, which had partially recovered. We got on the game field on time on the major day. I'd always wondered what an indoor cricket ground looked like, and when I saw one, it was much beyond my expectations. We were 7 in number and our team comprised of Aashish (the best keeper and batsman), Avash dai ( amazing batsman and bowler), Pradeep (amazing bowler and fielder), Sambhav (the team captain), Suman (whom I met first time in the field and an amazing bowler as well as batsman), Sugam (batsman-the sixer) and me—the team maker. While we were warming up, many of us topple down due to net. Looking around the indoor environment, I realized that today's match was more than just about who could score a six or a four, but also about ingenuity and excellent strategy. Because of the net, the power and supremacy of those who were true 4 or 6 scorers was limited or crippled to some extent. Not only that, but fielders who were wary and used to some of the coolest fielding movements, who relied on their judgment, were unable to fully maximize their potential owing to the effect of the net system, as the judgment could not perform as planned. But this condition was the same for all the teams.
We had a total of four matches on the event day. On three of them, we were victorious. We fought for third place after failing to win the third game, and we won the match, securing our third place. Talking about performance of the individual players, let’s begin with the captain. Sambhav had nice judgment skills. The moment he used to change the formation of the players or just make a slight tweak in the position of the fielding, every ball used to be caught right few seconds after the judgment. Now comes our one and only keeper- Aashish. He put down three wickets-thanks to his amazing reflexes and hard work during his initial days. Similarly, Pradeep’s amazing bowling and some of the coolest catches was equally appealing. Some of his catches were IPL level performance. Due to this, he has sustained injuries in his right hand due to his energetic performance. Talking about Avash dai, I cannot distinguish which one was better- his batting or his bowling? There was some of the epic catches by Avash dai that turned the tide of the team. Furthermore, Sugam’s reckless attempt to hit a six was somehow risky and thrilling as well. When his bat striked the ball, it was always a six. Who would not want to hit the bat at least 2-3 times and get multiple of sixes and get out?? A worth-taking risk. Similarly, it felt like Suman was hired so that he could play the game and we could bring trophy to the office. His allrounder performance as a bowler, as a fielder and as a batsman was breathtaking. I do not want to miss addressing one epic scenario where Sambhav failed miserably to catch the ball nearby the stump, and right at the moment another player caught the ball and hit the stump. The movement was so fast that I couldn't even calculate who did the job because it was a roller coaster ride, and I still don't know who did it.
In terms of my own performance, I noticed that many female players from the other team were also fielding. I wanted to play fielder in the early games, but I knew I wouldn't be able to bend my leg comfortably—at least not while fielding—due to my leg problem. In addition, I had to make it to the end of the day because, in the worst-case situation, I would have to bat. And I had to play the game that we lost, which was the third match, in which I attempted a shot and was caught out. I spend the majority of my time analyzing our individual team's performance and serving as the team's sole cheerleader.
Speaking of my overall sports fest experience and comparing and contrasting the two games that I participated in, even though I only got to be on the field for 20 minutes in futsal and only 1 minute in cricket, I will treasure my time on the cricket field because I learned about amazing capabilities, from judgment to decision making, from my fellow teammates. When it comes to my attitude before and after sports fest, I've grown more confident, at ease, and enthusiastic because the sports fest has taught me not only about my own inner strength, but also about the strengths and weaknesses of my teammates.
F1soft Sports Fest 2022 Experience by @Rajashree Dahal