It’s the pebble in your shoe





By Varad Grover

‘It isn’t the mountain ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe’

It is always the little things that we fail to notice, the little things that trip us up. The key is to keep an eye on the details as well as the big picture. ‘The greatest’, Muhammad Ali did—and look at his amazing results. Inspiration for all of us logged in to the Schools India Cup National Volleyball Championship starting here on Tuesday.

I am here at the pristine Lovely Professional University campus, just outside Jalandhar city, basking in the winter sun. Around me, everyone is agog about the young spikers who have trooped in here from 12 states to lift and smash everything that it takes to win the coveted Schools India Cup ‘trophy’ and the ‘Most Valuable Player Dainik Jagran Award’.

These are exciting times in Indian sports at the grass root level too, as suddenly the relevance and respect for the base is beginning to come in this country, finally.

Imagine the preparation that goes into preparing for hosting an under-16 age championship. The logistics planning is immaculate, right up to arranging the water bottles for the under-16 players on the court—in professional fashion. Even the driver manning the snazzy team bus is exuberant and excited despite his midnight sojourn to the Jalandhar railway station to pick up the early birds arriving from Tamil Nadu. Coming from the tropical weather of Tamil Nadu, the young spikers had to be quickly huddled into the warm comfort of their rooms at the LPU hostel (2 occupants per room; at the Olympic Games Village there are 3 occupants per room). The teams were given a traditional welcome with tilak accompanied to the beats of dhol.

The icons of Indian volleyball have made technology their conduit to connect better with the younger generation. The Opening Ceremony on January 29 is expected to be a sparkler and half a dozen of these icons will be arriving here to watch the young guns from across India in action. In this day of instant messaging and counselling, motivational video message from the legendary volleyball player, the gangling 6 feet 7 inches Om Parkash Tanwar is sent to all the participating teams.

A bane of Indian sports in earlier times, technical finesse of conducting a sport is now a priority. For the Schools India Cup National Volleyball Championship, International Referee, Mr Gurbux Singh is the Technical Director for the smooth conduct of the championship. Meanwhile, the ‘team managers meeting’ is underway in the TD’s office adjacent to where I am banging away this blog on my ipad.

I am beginning to wonder at the scale and effort of the preparation—all these youngsters are currently below-16 and some of them will be ready to take the leap for India at the next Olympic Games after 2020—the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It’s the little things that trip us up. The key is to keep an eye on the details as well as the big picture.



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