Serving off court

Supporting a cause: Somdev Devvarman

Supporting a cause: Somdev Devvarman   | Photo Credit: Fiona Hamilton

Organised by youngsters, Happy Feet2 brought to light the other dimension of tennis player Somdev Devvarman’s life.

Imagine yourself as a star; you are a chief guest at an event. How would you expect your welcome to be? A little bit of hype, people waiting to welcome you with some flowers, a band playing while people clap and whistle. And you would drive in a posh car, wearing some flashy attire and throw your attitude all over the place. Well, this star didn’t want or do any of these. He casually walked in without pomp or show.

Lending support

Somdev Devvarman was the chief guest at Happy Feet 2, a five-a-side charity football tournament which was organised last weekend in aid of Help a Child of India, an NGO that works towards the well-being of children across India. “I am here to support Help a Child of India, because of the good platform that has been laid, and of course, I love sports!” he said, adding “I’m surrounded by friends who wish to help others and make a difference”.

Happy Feet is a five-a-side charity football tournament that was organised by a bunch of youngsters on behalf of Help a Child of India. Their focus was on helping underprivileged children achieve their dreams and their motto ‘let every child have a life better than mine’. About 60 odd teams participated in the event, for which Somdev was the chief guest. He calls this a dream that he dreamt of as a college student. “The younger generation are conscious and more aware; they do so many things out there to give back. To help others in spite of the many challenges, it is never easy, I understand because I was one of them during my college days, trying to help and make a difference.”

Importance of sports

Somdev is a part of the NGO Life is a Ball, a Phenomenon Sport’s charity venture, which supports the cause of better sports in India. Their aim is to create awareness and opportunities through the medium of sport. It was one of the partners of the event.

Somdev, along with his friend Vikram Menon, started this initiative, the concept for which took root with a simple idea that a mere ball could add more meaning to a person’s life that one imagines.

The one class that a child would never want to miss is the P.T. class. And since the NGO is attuned towards children and sports, they have adopted schools that lack basic sporting infrastructure and sponsor the same. They get the best of everything from structured programmes to equipments, shoes, clothing and even professional coaches have been looped in to help.

Where does the funding come from? Their own pockets. “The important aspect is that the focus it’s not on developing champions but just about giving them a better life,” says Vikram Menon. This is just the start for the duo that has bigger plans for their initiative.

The NGO’s motto is ‘Sports can teach lessons for a life time’. When asked if this was true in Somdev’s life, he confessed saying how he was notorious as a kid. Being the only one with a cricket bat in the neighbourhood, he would come back home after his turn at batting was over. Subsequently, his mother later pulled him by the ear and made him share his bat with his friends. It’s things like this that he thinks make a difference; the kind of ideals instilled in you as a kid are what matter the most.

His parents have always pin-pointed his mistakes and he says he learnt things the hard way. Sports has personally taught him acceptance. More than anything else, it has taught him that he is just another human being. No matter how well he might be playing, there is no guarantee. Sports has also taught him to be a team player, to be unselfish, to compete under pressure, to lead by example and not just accomplish but build values on the run and the list goes on.

Somdev’s advice to youngsters: “Life is not always about having fun; prioritise! It may look insecure and unstable but only you can make your life better. Look into the humorous side, that way life looks better and we can accept it.”

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:52:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/serving-off-court/article4361021.ece

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