From playing with a plastic disc casually to participating in state-level Frisbee competition, the journey of challenges, learning, growth, passion, exploring oneself,and craziness from this carefree sport has been prodigious for children.
It is very difficult for children from Pardhi and other DNT communities to participate and play in any of the sports with such zeal and confidence, especially for girls. However once this sport became an integral part for children, all it took was a little spark to violate some stigmas and iniquitous social norms.
The journey started with the children living in the hostel of Muskaan. In 2018, one of the Muskaan’s team members started involving children in this game and from then, the children have never looked back! Though there was no such formal training with a certified coach given to the children, they try to learn on their own with little guidance.
Surprisingly, these children are now teaching and motivating other children in different settlements of Bhopal. Till now they have played the matches with 15 teams in New Delhi and with 2 teams of Jabalpur, in Madhya Pradesh. Children are looking forward to playing at the national level too, in the future. The team has an equal mix of girls and boys and that has played an important role in breaking gender stereotypes among the children and communities.
With high excitement levels, children are truly devoted to Frisbee as they have discovered themselves through this sport. They actually got aware of themselves, their strengths and weaknesses too. Following are the brief testimonies of how children feels about playing ‘The Ultimate’ and what it means to them.
‘I was not aware of my coordinating and management capabilities; I can easily manage a team and build coordination among the players.’ – Pushpa
‘I didn’t know, I could jump so higher and build coordination among the team-members.’- Dilbaras
‘I didn’t know that I could run 6-7 Kms at a stretch without getting tired’- Balraj
‘We all have not taken any formal training, but I always try to learn by looking at my good competitors’ game. I didn’t know that I am such a fast learner. I also act as a coach to my team.’- Abhishek
‘I didn’t know I am so good at making strategies and can jump so high.’ – Rajveer
‘I do not get afraid of doing high jumps and dives; I didn’t know that I am so fearless.’ –Radhepal
A POSITIVE OUTLOOK-
Self-care and Development-
Children are now taking care of their health and nutrition which is boosting up their strength and stamina which can be seen in their game. Those who were earlier addicted to tobacco and other substances have now stopped consuming it. They have even made a rule that children who will consume all these things won’t be allowed to play.
This sport has reduced aggression among children a lot. It proved as an amazing stress buster among children in COVID times and has improved their mental well-being bringing out positive behavioral change. They are now more focused on everything they do whether it is a game or their studies. It has provided the safe space to children in building up their skills without any shackles and restrictions.
Building leadership and sportsmanshipquality in all the areas-
It has boosted the confidence level and evolved leadership qualities among the children. It has increased the ability to see one’s true self and analytical ability to identify their own shortcomings and work on them. They are learning more about democratic values rather than authoritative values through this game and making it applicable in their way of living. It has enhanced coordination and team spirit.
Boys have started asserting for girls’ freedom and rights among the communities and friends as they have become their allies. They do not hesitate while speaking to the opposite gender. Children are now better at harmonizing with other communities as they play as a team irrespective of their caste and religion.
‘Earlier we used to think that girls do not have much strength and power as we are conditioned with this thought since childhood, but the girls of our team play much better than boys. Now we do not encourage other boys when they humiliate girls. We also help our mother and sisters in household chores.’- Rajveer
‘Earlier I used to get very angry, but now I don’t get angry so fast and for so long. I’ve learned that holding on to anger for someone is not a solution, living in unity and harmony gives so much happiness and strength. We have learned self-control.’ – Dilbaras
‘Now I am more focused on my game and I am also able to concentrate better on my studies. I have also learned how to bind everyone together and how to learn together without being discriminated.’- Pushpa
Sport is indeed a good teacher and these little shining stars are trying hard to learn it better!