- Anuj Mahajan
Big things come in Small packages.
[caption id="attachment_272" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="The victorious IM team"][/caption]
IM’s journey to the pinnacle of KoK success is the culmination of hard work, dedication and perseverance of the whole batch. One unique thing that about the batch is that they may disagree or crib about a number of things - ranging from academics to faculty to their super hectic schedule - but when it comes to sports, they have their hearts in the right place. How else do you explain a crazy Kshitij practicing alone at 6 pm right after classes, failing to understand the hue and cry behind the club selections around? Or Jatin playing badminton till daybreak, only to be shooed back into his hostel room by a faculty member who planned to take a morning walk? What do you think inspires Kabir and Indro to unfailingly turn up at 6 every evening on the football field and practice their religion irrespective of the volumes of after class and before class work assigned to them?
It is the one passion, the one inner desire, the ultimate nirvana each IMer craved for, the ultimate sporting glory in MDI: to be the King of Kings!
Having only 33 people in the batch and just 4 girls, we knew the numbers were never in our favour. Cheerleading was never our forte and to be honest we never even tried to match the firepower of HR in that aspect. Even when it came to CKK, we had that insipid project right before the main event. But when the day came, we at least put up a respectable show and did not come last, contrary to popular expectation. As one of us rightly said that day,
“We are here to win the sporting event KoK, the real thing, CKK is the consolation prize for the intellectuals.”
But one good thing that came out of CKK was that we managed to put up a show in two hours. Whatever we did, in the end, we left with the satisfaction of a job well done, a message loud enough for everyone else – “I AM what IM”.
It was cricket that came up first and with the fireworks of Jatin in the first league game and the Bevan-like finishing of Apurv in the second, we marched into the semis with our confidence sky high. Our bowling was looking good, fielding even better. Batting was a concern, especially at the top, but we knew we had enough big-hitters in our ranks to blow away the opposition.
But in the semis, a rain-marred game that had to be played the next day, we did not live up to expectations. Signs were looking ominous from the first over itself when Abhinav got hit for a flurry of boundaries and our bowling mainstay Hemant was also punished. But we had been in tougher situations before and still had our batting to follow. We did not have a good start and with the asking-rate spiralling, it was too much to expect from the lower order. It was a heart-breaking loss as we had high hopes in cricket. Guys like Kshitij and Mohit had put in a lot of effort, but destiny had other things in mind for us.
In tennis we had Sandeep Reddy, IM’s version of Rafal Nadal. In the first match he put up a heroic effort against Deepak from Section B but lost. But the good thing was that we discovered the talent of Christoff Neuner and were ready to unleash him for the remaining matches. From then on tennis was a cakewalk. Such was our dominance that in the final, in all the three matches we dropped only three-four games and eventually won our first 100 KoK points.
Then came football and badminton. Football was clearly a prestige issue. IM was the defending champion for two years running and there was no way in hell we could afford to lose. The league rounds were reasonably comfortable. Such was the extent of our dominance that our goalkeeper was hardly tested till the semis: there were less than five shots on our goal whereas we scored 13 in three games. The finals were a tense affair with HR proving to be a formidable opponent. They in no way resembled the team we had swatted past 3-0 in the league game. We were so used to a dominant position that with the score at 1-1 and 15 minutes to go, we were in for an exciting finish. But again, the talismanic Kabeer Singh Bedi and tireless workhorse Christoff sneaked in goals to give us a resounding victory.
All along, we had made our way to the badminton finals as well without many hiccups. Yogesh with his methodical approach to the game led a talented team comprising of Jatin, Mohit and Tanika. Tanika especially put in a lot of effort before the finals against Section B, practicing continuously for hours. Stakes were raised even high when we were tied with Section B on 200 points in the overall table before the badminton finals, making it a ‘Winner takes All’ match. Jatin lost the first set but eventually emerged the winner in his singles match. Yogesh then played against Karan in the ‘Match of the Tournament’ between the two best players in PG10 and emerged victorious with an astounding ease. But Tanika lost her singles despite putting up a brave front and Jatin-Adithya lost their doubles in three sets. It all boiled down to the mixed doubles where Tanika and Yogesh combined to defeat their very spirited Section B opponents and win KoK for IM in the process. For Yogesh, it was a special victory as he never lost a game or dropped a set throughout KoK.
Also worth mentioning is the effort put in by Raghav, Akshat, Himani, Manish and others to represent IM in table tennis, chess and volleyball despite our super hectic schedule and mid-terms. We did not win any of these but that does take away anything from their efforts.
In the end, it was the self-belief in each of us that made this possible. Each of us - whether playing, cheering, making posters for CKK, shrieking in support etc - played a crucial role all along. This was the event where we realised that it’s one’s tireless pursuit of passion that ensures victory and that sport is never a lone man’s battle, it is always the team that wins or loses in the end.
Hoping that upcoming IM batches take this year’s victory as an inspiration and uphold the tradition of IM being the best batch, at least in Sports!