This article was written by an alumnus, Mr. Rahul Chandawarkar of SIBM in the Indian Express on 4th Spetember '07. I found this real life story very inspiring and it re-kindled that "can-do" attitude in me...so read on
Chak De...Symbi !!
We didn’t have Shahrukh for a coach, but we made it
The movie, Chak De India, has caught the imagination of the nation. Here is a bunch of hockey-playing girls, who cannot spell the ‘T’ of teamwork. Yet, their coach effects a magical transformation through the power of self-belief.
As I stepped out of the theatre, my mind did a quick rewind. Circa 1986. We were students of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune. One day, to get over the monotony of a production management lecture, someone suggested we take part in the inter-college hockey tournament.
The Maharashtra Hockey Association clerk laughed at our application. “Since when did business school students start playing hockey?” he said. This snub was just the spark we needed. We were a rusty lot. Most of us had consigned our sticks to the loft after the undergrad or even school level. Yet, we had two stars in Sunil and Amin. They had donned Maharashtra state colours at the junior level.
We built a side around them. What followed was rigorous training every evening. Three hours of gruelling play followed by nimbu paani and a motivational film. It was a racy, ten-minute sports film on how to overcome challenges through self-belief. With the popular ‘Eye of the tiger’ tune, the film was a major adrenalin booster.
We were a diverse bunch. The bearded Kharkhanis and chain-smoking Potti were defenders. The speedy Bartakke, talkative Parry, brooding Parulekar, and confident Sunil were the forwards. The scheming Amin, the two Mohans and Agnello, the joker comprised the half line. Yours truly was goalkeeper minus a helmet and chest guard.
We played hard, exercised harder, swallowed litres of nimbu paani and watched the film a zillion times. The ‘Symbi-Symbi’ war cry was in place. In our first game, we beat the defending champions, Nowrosjee Wadia College, on their home turf and followed it with wins against fancied teams like Armed Forces Medical College, and others.
We reached the finals, no less. In that hard-fought game, we went down on penalties. But not before proving that a team of no-hopers could become champions simply through the power of self-belief.