By Mayank Singh

During my teens, I lived in a small cantonment Wellington in Tamil Nadu. The town had people from various nationalities, as it housed the Defense Services Staff College – an Armed Forces training institute. Every evening, I would to go out to the local club to play basketball with children from different countries. These children had seemingly no common connection — we couldn’t even speak the same language. Yet, we shared a common interest in the game we played. This shared interest seemed to break down all other barriers that existed. For a short period of time, we could communicate with each other through the universal language of the sport –‘basketball’. It was a unique experience for me; was (and still remains to be) one of the motivating factors, which instilled in me a passion for basketball.

My love for basketball made me reach out to Shaun who is the Lead at the Crossover Basketball Academy. This will be my first crossover camp and I hope to be a part of many more to come. I am eager to meet everyone who is coming there –Shaun, Jonah, Varun , all the volunteers and most of all, the kids. The best thing which I love about this concept is the amalgamation of the value of basketball as a sport and the encouragement given to children to become leaders of the future.

In India, the public perception of sports is no more than just an extracurricular activity – – youngsters passionate about sport are instead forced to refocus on academics…and just academics! Having played roles of both – an athlete and a sports administrator – in the Indian sports arena, I have been witness to a lot of issues. With Crossover, I would like to play a larger role in overcoming the issues and help create an ecosystem sports as a career choice thrives. This crossover camp can indeed be the small starting step!

At the camp, I hope to inspire small kids to pursue their passion and leverage the skills developed while learning basketball to grow in their life. Even if I end up inspiring just a single kid to incorporate the values taught at the Camp, it would be an overwhelming achievement for me. And, of course, this could in turn help me grow better personally as well as professionally.

Basketball has taught me a lot of things. I have learnt the most important lessons of my life on the court. I have and still keep incorporating them in every aspect of my being. I have understood the real meaning of teamwork and the importance of respecting the competitors as well as peers. But the most important lesson that I have learnt is ‘Never give up on one’s dreams’! Keep persevering with determination till the last moments of the game. And this is what I intend to pass on to the students!

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