Indranil Das Blah Salutes the Power of Football
I recently visited a Premiership club that has been conducting community programs and reaching out to people, especially those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. In one incident, the club members showed up at a center, where an elderly gentleman had steadfastly refused to socialise with anyone for the last few years. Despite best efforts by the home and his family, he brushed off anyone from the outside world and cocooned himself in the room for months on end.
All that changed when the Premiership club took charge. The gentleman saw the officials dressed in the colours he used to support years ago. And when he overheard the chatter around football, a switch went on in his head. He immediately walked out of his room and spoke about the glory days of his club. He seemed to be in complete control of his mind, something which had been missing for years.
The spark returned every time the club officials came back and the old man began socialising a lot more. All this was because of his undying love for his football club. It helped him reconnect with the world and recover partially from his illness.
Then there’s another story about a 6-year-old boy who refused to conform to his school rules making it extremely difficult for his parents and teachers. He declined to wear the uniform and wouldn’t participate in any of the class activities. A few months later, the school started a program, where the coach of a local football team would come to speak about values that sports can bring into one’s life. During one such visit, the coach noticed that this little boy was the only one who was not wearing a uniform. After a background check, he requested the school to send the child to the football academy for a few hours.
During the course of the next few hours, the coach spent time with the boy, giving him practical explanations about values such as discipline, team work, and fair play using football references. This resonated with the child more than all the hours spent in the classroom. The next day, he turned up in school, dressed smartly in his uniform and has not looked back ever since. Today, he is a teenager playing for the club’s youth academy.
Sports influences everyone, be it young or old. Such is its power.
Indranil Das Blah is the founding partner of celebrity management firm Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, and the CEO of Mumbai City FC.
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