First things first, let me be honest and upfront lest I be accused later of biased reporting – NLU Delhi got routed at Magnus 2014 at Jindal Global University (you may know them better as Jiggles). This was unfortunate because we were the defending champions from Magnus 2013 at Jiggles. But funnily enough, we successfully defended the title and were awarded the award for the Best Overall Contingent this year as well. How? As always, the fact that we participate in all events, specifically and most importantly the participation by girls, won us the trophy we had the second highest tally of medals after Jiggles, and as is customary in sports fests, the host college passes on the Best Contingent award.
Our first match was the girls’ football match was scheduled against Jiggles. While our team played well, fighting exhaustion with an enduring persistence, but the lack of practice and inexperience at playing a full game on a bigger field led to the Jiggles victory over us. The first of many as our first match in nearly every sport had been scheduled against them. This was followed by our one and only victory of the day, where the football boys’ team defeated ITM Gurgaon 2-0, with an incredible goal by Aakarsh, smashing the ball into the net next to the near post from an impossibly acute angle (and an incredible miss by Arshaan, smashing the ball over the cross bar from an impossibly close range on an empty goal). The boys’ basketball game was scheduled against Jiggles, who had defeated us last year as well. The first two quarters looked promising with us trailing by only two points at 15-13, but the third and fourth quarter was a demolition, with the final score at 45-15. The Jiggles team played at a pace and consistency that could not be matched by us and most of their players were taller than Parag. We suffered similar defeats in boys’ tennis and volleyball and girls’ basketball.
Girls’ volleyball should have been a closer game, but by the time our team gathered momentum, the damage had already been done. But special mention must be made of Shweta Kabra who single-handedly carried our team and could have carried them to victory if not for some unfortunate unforced errors. Badminton was a similar story for both boys and girls, as well as boys Table Tennis, where we suffered losses to teams whom we could and should have defeated. But a problem that our college contingent always suffers from is that we have the same people who participate in multiple sports, invariably leading to Sanjeev being too tired to efficiently play Table Tennis and Maanas being too much in pain to play Tennis.
But as always, our whole-hearted participation in every game and especially the participation from girls’ brought our medal tally to three silvers and two golds. A silver in girls’ carom and girls’ chess was followed by our first gold in boys’ carom delivered by Kuldeep and Rishiraj (who came on an impromptu decision, left with many happy moments, only one of which was winning the gold). In Tennis, Munmun and Shweta comfortably defeated ITM to secure the silver. Table Tennis was an absolute delight to watch where Tia Mazumdar and Archana Negi were playing Jiggles in the finals. While all played very well, Tia dazzled our college support, the host college crowd, and the opposition team with an equal display of patience, technique and aggression, and we defeated them 3-0 in a best-of-five set, winning the second gold for NLU Delhi, and for the second year in a row, the Best Overall Contingent award.
To be honest, we all know that it is a joke that we won that trophy. It amuses no one more than all of us who went for the fest. But there is a reason that we continue to go to these sports fest every year despite the fact that we may lose. It is the same reason why despite having a humiliating start from the first day, we stick through the entire fest, participate in every sport, and cheer each other on in every sport. At the cost of sounding cheesy, NLU Delhi students have inculcated a sportsmanperson spirit and a genuine love for the sports (I wish there were a gender neutral alternative, because really, girls do win us these trophies every time) which make these fests enjoyable irrespective of our performance at the fests. I would like to share with you two practices that have become tradition when NLU Delhi goes for sports fests.
In my first year, in December 2010, I had gone to NLIU Bhopal for their sports fest, Virudhaka. In our rooms, during an intense discussion about game strategy and such important matters, the subject shifted (as discussions often do) to the porn star Sasha Grey. The next morning, when everyone was leaving for NLIU, one among us (let’s leave him unnamed) said he was staying back and asked for the laptop which had Sasha Grey’s videos. Before our first game of that morning, the athletic legend of NLU Delhi, Gaurav Govinda decides to yell “Go Sasha!” Born was a practice that even G did not expect would continue after he graduated from college. Before every game that NLU Delhi plays, the entire college contingent huddles up and on the count of three and screams “Go Sasha!” It is a simple tradition that reinforces a sportsman-like spirit for the success of the entire college contingent. It makes every participating player of the contingent come together to watch every match irrespective of the sport, chant and support the college team, and celebrate every match irrespective of the result.
This brings me to the second tradition I would like to speak of, which coincidentally was also born in Virudhaka, 2010. A practice started by Maanas and one which I have great respect for – at the end of a game, irrespective of whether we won or lost, we would huddle up, and chant three cheers for the opposing team and then for our own team; a humble act that acknowledges the value and importance of playing a good game and appreciates the opposing team for the same. It is such sportsman spirit and the atmosphere created by it that makes these fests so enjoyable.
It is also such sportsman spirit that was completely lacking in the host crowd. While it is one thing to cheer for your own team, it is another thing altogether and entirely unacceptable, to throw water on, dance around, and yell abuses at the losing team (especially against ITM Gurgaon after a very good match of volleyball against Jiggles). It was disgusting. But I’m not going to dwell on that, I merely thought a mention was necessary for an accurate report of the fest.
Sure, we won at Jiggles 2014 and we are over the moon with joy. But part of that joy is amusement at the victory, and most important to that joy is the experience of being part of that college contingent, and for the most part, that experience remains the same regardless of a victory or a defeat. Like Jesus said – “Celebrate life even in your defeats, because in the larger scheme of things, it matters not whether you win or lose, it only matters whether a porn star unknowingly brought meaning to your life.”