I was 5 years old when my father put a tennis racquet in my hand. At first, I resisted; I didn’t quite understand why my father forced me to get out of the house and play tennis. But over time, I realized the value in getting fit, in learning how to swing my arm at a certain angle and with a certain amount of strength, and in spending time with my father. Tennis changed me and shaped me into the individual I am today. It built a hunger to win inside me, a hunger not to give up, no matter what your opponent throws at you.
I continued playing, and eventually started taking formal lessons, which only further incentivized me to be better. Everything was going well when I started noticing a young boy sitting on a bench outside my tennis court everyday. Then one day, on a cold Sunday morning, on my way to my daily tennis lesson, I saw a young boy sitting on a bench just outside my tennis court. After a few months, on a cold Sunday morning, I finally decided to approach him. He mentioned that he desperately wanted to try playing the sport, but didn’t have the equipment or training or any means, after all, the court required a Rs. 600 entry fee, an insurmountable amount in his mind. I invited him to play a few points with me, and I was awestruck when he had good technique, and surprisingly fast reflexes. He explained that he had been observing games, and practicing the techniques without a racquet in order to try and understand the sport. This story touched me to my core. Where would this boy have been if he had had the same kinds of opportunities that I did? Almost certainly he would’ve been a stellar player. He would’ve soared, that was the answer I got from within.
After my lesson I spoke to my father about this incident. He explained two ways to tackle the problem. One was a small scale solution, to go and give that 11 year old a racquet and provide some sort of financial assistance. That is exactly what I did, but once I did it, I realized that I had the perfect opportunity to try and scale this further, and help more young children across the country try and achieve their sports dreams. Now here I am hoping I have, even the slightest bit, inspired you to support me in this cause.