1. In my school every year annual function was conducted in December.
2. Luminaries from different spheres were invited as chief guest in that function.
3. The annual function culminated with a short question and answer session with the chief guest.
4. These sessions were really informative and taught me some valuable lessons as the experts shared their knowledge, experience and gave us the much needed guidance for our future path.
5. I thoroughly enjoyed these sessions as every year I learnt something new since every year the invited guest belonged to a different field such as technology, literature, politics, music, sports etc.
6. I used to look forward to these sessions but there was one particular year when I was overly excited for it.
7. I am avid football fan and my excitement knew no bounds when we were informed that Arun Kumar, the football captain of our state team was going to be the chief guest in that year’s annual function.
8. For a football enthusiast that was once in a lifetime opportunity to meet his living idol and get the chance to interact with him in person.
9. Function began in the customary manner with a prayer followed by cultural activities.
10. Normally I would enjoy these activities but that year my mind was preoccupied by the event to follow.
11. Finally the time came when our principal invited Arun Kumar on the stage and felicitated him with a memento.
12. Then he requested the football captain to address the audience with a short speech.
13. He began his speech with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and told us that he idolized him for his humility and simplicity, the traits that he himself epitomized.
14. Then he shared his childhood experiences and how he struggled in the process of becoming a professional footballer.
15. He belonged to a middle class family and like in an orthodox family the focus was primarily on studies and sports were only considered as leisure time activity.
16. But he always had more interest in sports and dreamt of representing our nation in the sport of football.
17. When he first shared his ambitions with his father, understandably there was some resistance.
18. But his father had always believed in following one’s passion so he agreed to support him in his decision but with one condition that he had to ensure that his studies would not suffer because of his involvement in the sports, a criteria which he managed to meet.
19. But that was not the end of his hardships.
20. At that time football was not a lucrative sports option so the basic infrastructure for the sport was very limited and rudimentary.
21. There was only one playground big enough to practice football but it was 10 miles away from his home.
22. So every day he rode his bicycle 10 miles to and fro for his practice which was highly demanding especially after practice when he was completely exhausted physically.
23. But this daunting task did not deflated his spirits.
24. He continued this routine for 5 years till the point when he was spotted by district football coach.
25. He recognized the potential in him and requested his parents to allow him to shift to the state football academy.
26. This move was particularly tough for him emotionally as he had never lived away from his family.
27. Nonetheless he relocated and things got even more difficult as in the academy he faced tougher competition from players all over the state.
28. But this competition made him even more resolved and he doubled his efforts to realize his dream.
29. The rest as they say is history.
30. This short speech of his reinforced the notion in my mind that no matter how humble your beginning is and how many obstacles you face, if you are determined and persevere then you can surmount any hurdle in your life.