The Game of table tennis has offered me a new lease of life

The informal meaning of Sports has been described as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. But, for me, Sports has always been like an Oxygen Cylinder providing fresh air to survive in this world.  My love for sports began at the age of 10 when I first started playing the game of football. It was more entertaining, especially during monsoon. But, for that, I received a lot of scolding from my mother, who unfortunately did not mock like the mother in TV commercial ad for a detergent soap,” Koi Baat Nahi, 2-minute mein saaf ho jayega.” Perhaps, those days, we didn’t have such strong detergent soaps or high impact washing machines.

So, I shifted my loyalty to another sport and that was Cricket, the most popular game in India. For me, playing cricket was more like entertainment than passion. Being blessed with a wonderful colony with multi-sports facility that too during 60s, the child like me to participate more  games like Badminton &Table Tennis . When I attained teenage, during vacation time, I remember having played all the three games at different timings during the day, to keep myself occupied. As long as it was not disturbing them at home , my parents too did not object, being true sports lovers. Luckily, there were no television, mobile phones and computers to keep us glued at home.

Till the age of 21, I was Jack of all sports and master of none. But, once i crossed this age, I realised that I should focus on one game and that’s how I took up the game of table tennis seriously. Instead of playing in our colony sports club, as per my father’s advice I joined YMCA and soon represented this institute in the Inter-Club TT league at the competitive level. Thereafter, it was playing for institutions like RBI, NABARD , besides playing at the national level. Though I had stopped playing at the competitive level after 1984, I was very much in touch with this game, especially for my fitness and training others. Last year, I did make a comeback through veterans’ Table Tennis Tournaments at the state and national level and to be very honest, I am enjoying every moment, during my playing hours. Last but not the least, the game of table tennis has offered me a new lease of life.

Ulhas Shirke

Team Sportsnasha