Sports were never the same with our new P.T. Sir (that was how everyone addressed him, including the teachers). He made the kids sweat on the field. He was very strict but at the same time good trainer. Many kids who never participated in physical activities were pulled into the games by him. He never allowed any excuse until he was sure that it was genuine one.
I used to give excuse of my club foot and not play much in school and never participated in the mass drill they organized every Saturday. I never wanted to be in competitions where others could mock my club foot or beat me badly in games. I played alone.
The new trainer told me I had to do as much as possible and take rest if I truly had pain in my leg. We had a little argument but he won because he knew I used to walk quite long distance to school at times instead of waiting for the bus and also when I wanted to, I played quite well. For once there was a person who could not see my disability. To him I was like any other kid. He made me sweat it out and run like everyone.
He guided me to walk with less limp which is a whole different story. P.T. sir showed special interest In training me and with his encouragement I was lured into participating in more sports. I found out to my amazement I could actually beat other kids in hop and catch, throw ball, dodge ball and kho-kho.
Slowly I realized the bull chasing episode where I had overtaken my sister was not a fluke and I could actually beat many kids in running. It came as a big surprise to everyone around me and I was utterly shocked. I was beaming with happiness and pride off course.
The school competitions were coming up and P.T. Sir told me to participate in running for my category. I had qualified for the sports meet to be held in a village nearby called Vartur. I was full of gratitude for the man who had helped me overcome my disability and said “Thank you sir”. He smiled and told me something which I remember even to this day when I have to fight a battle, “I am not sure about your legs girl, but your spirit is going to take you far”.
We kept practicing hard for the sports meet where most of the schools from our district were participating. For once my books were ignored. I did not want to let my school down. Between the hectic schedules of sports preparation the days flew by and we were in Vartur.
. “Good” he said and I heard his voice was emotional. I looked up and saw two droplets of tears his eyes. Then my emotions became clear and I knew I had won. Second place was not sucking any more.
Even to this day I remember those droplets of tears and this gesture from Sir is more precious than any medal I could ever win…..