March 5, 2022

Sports In India: When Fear Trumps Passion

Sports. An integral part of each and every one of our lives. May it be watching that cricket match late at night with your friends, or the early morning practice at your club. As kids, each one of us thought about becoming a sportsperson. But some of us fell in love with sports and never stopped, they got better at sports, they mastered it, won tournaments at national levels, but still ended up not pursuing the sport on a professional level.  

Why does this happen? Why have we stigmatized sports for so long? Why do we send youngsters full of talent and motivation into a world of education where they might not fit in?  

The obvious argument is, “Sports isn’t sustainable.” We agree. Especially in a country like India, where not all of us understand the importance of a career in sports. Students are time again told that a career in sports will not take them anywhere in life but that is a lie! 

We agree that a career in sports has its shortcomings, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Sports tend to be a high-risk, low-reward career path for a long time of an individual’s career, and sometimes, there’s also scope of injury, not just in your game but also in every aspect of your life! One small injury can ruin your whole career.  

Building a sustainable life with a Career in Sports 

If we look at this situation from a third person’s perspective, both parents and students make a fair point. While students with immense potential should have an opportunity to pursue their dream sport careers, the worry of their parents that sports may not give their child a means of decent livelihood is also a blatant truth, which cannot be ignored.  

What we are trying to suggest is that a sportsperson should plan their sports career effectively at an early stage of life. Making a plan will give the parents a chance to visualize the future and the endless possibilities their child could have. It will also get the students to understand that unfortunately, sports as a career alone may not sustain them for the rest of their life.  

We’re not saying that you won’t be successful in a sports career, we’re just being pragmatic. There are a huge number of students who want to succeed, and even if you feel that you might beat all odds and come out on top, a person should always plan for the worst.  

So, what is the solution? How does planning help a career in sports? The solution is planning your sports career and planning an alternate career as well, that sustains the aspirant while they are building a career in sports. More importantly, a career that will help the aspirants live a financially independent life even if their career in sports goes south or even if it comes to an end.   

This way, the aspirant has two different avenues to succeed. They can train hard every day but at the same time pursue a career in a field that they love. Might as well be something like sports science and other fields that support a sportsman.  This will also help them have a stable life, doing something which they like, once their sporting career is over. 

Meet Rajni Kashyap, A Boxer from an EWS Family in Haryana 

Panipat’s Pride, India’s Future, the next “Mary Kom”, words fall short for Rajni Kashyap. Rajni is a 19-year-old boxer from a poor background, who has overcome hardships every step of the way and came out on top every time. In the past decade, Rajni has turned her life around.  

She started boxing practice when she was 10 years old, and immediately fell in love with it, and before she knew it her life started changing. Since 2017, Rajni has won one medal after the other and has become an unstoppable force in the boxing world. In 2018, Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Rajni in his program, “Mann Ki Baat” and lauded her for her success on both national and international levels.  

She has always looked up to Indian Boxing Legend, Mary Kom. She believes that if Mary Kom can fight all her hardships, so can she. Not only does she wish to scale great heights, she also wants to build a sustainable and financially stable future for her family.   

However, it’s becoming difficult for Rajni to concentrate on her sport as she constantly becomes anxious about her future. Luckily, her local mentor, Mr. Pardeep Kashyap of ‘Kashyap Shiksha Foundation’ connected her with Dheya for her Career guidance. ‘Kashyap Shiksha Foundation helps financially challenged girls from Haryana under Beti Padao, Beti Bachao program.  

We decided to help Rajni under Dheya Trust, free of cost, as part of our social initiatives division. Rajni undertook our psychometric assessment which helped us find out her strengths, personality and interest. Through our mentoring and guidance process, Dheya helped Rajni map a plan to achieve excellence in sports and also develop an alternate career suitable for her, along with the path to be followed that will help her sustain her journey in boxing. This has helped her get rid of all her worries with a focused approach in her boxing career and also look beyond for a happy life in case of any casualties.  

What stood out in this whole process was her mindset. A girl so talented and hardworking was losing hope in her own dreams. Dreams that she has been pursuing for a decade, dreams that are so close to coming true. And why is she doing this to herself? Because she’s heard and seen so many legendary sportspeople reach just the pinnacle of their success and then fall down faster and harder than she could ever imagine.  

Now that she has a focused approach and a mentor that will help her every step of the way. We would like to thank Rajni, her family, and the Kashyap Shiksha Foundation to let us be a part of her journey at such an early stage.

A few last words

Rajni is one example of the problem we’re trying to fix here. Our country has a gross population of over 1.3 billion people, we have the potential to excel not just in academics but every field out there. It’s time we let our younger generation utilize their potential not just to build a career but also to make our country proud again. Today it’s Neeraj Chopra, tomorrow it’ll be Rajni Kashyap and if we play our cards right, our youngsters can be at the top of the world if we give them a chance to do so.  

Planning isn’t hard. A lot of us already have a back-up plan worked out for our children. This is just another variation for the back-up plan. If we widen our horizon even by a small amount we will be able to see the endless number of opportunities our children could seize with the right approach and a practical plan. A plan that gives them space to explore and excel.  

Rajni is a fighter both mentally and in real life. We know she has what it takes to bring an Olympic Gold back home. Let’s wish her the Best of Luck for her future! 

You can watch Rajni’s Testimonial here:

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