The Kabadi world cup
A chance to play kabadi in the big time. The world cup. The opposing teams are older,stronger and more experienced but we have something different working for us, the MPA fighting spirit. The energy causing us to refuse defeat until the whistle has blown.
This will have been my third time participating in these games, but for many of the senior girls brought along, it will be their first. After playing two games without students, the first a win against Turkministan, and the second a loss against Malaysia we decide to add a few of the girls to the team so that they could join in on this amazing experience. Amrit Saroop (the captain of the MPA team) was joined by returning students Siri Dharam and Gweneth as well as new students, Marie louise and Oona. They had been playing and practicing all year, hoping for a chance to help the U.S team win, even if only by one point.
Amrit Saroop takes her first raid and holds nothing back. We are playing against England and their defense catches her, she has the choice to tap out but if you know Amrit Saroop you know, that is not going to happen. She fights and wiggles and drags her opponent to exhaustion giving her fellow team mates a better chance in their next raid. It is obvious that she is successful when I raid next and there defense is to winded from their last fight to run fast enough to catch me. She kept this up, making England’s defense work hard while keeping her head held high and cheering on her teammates.
Siri Dharam is one of our strongest defensive players at the school. She has no fear and will go after any one with passion and determination. We decided to put her on the field as a starter, a risky decision as this was her first official game in this style of kabadi. After a moment to get adjusted Siri Dharam scored her first point with a take down, then her second and third. A smile spread across all of our faces seeing the youngest player on our team take down some of Englad’s finest.
It is Marie louise and Oona’s first year at MPA and first time playing kabadi. Oona fell in love with the sport and had been dedicated in each practice, managing to stay smiling even while being sat on by Siri Dharam. Marie louise was known for her speed in every sport. They both came with us not knowing what to expect, just feeling the excitement of being a part of something so big. It was fun to watch their reactions to the crowd as we walked on to the field in uniform.
The game was rough. Each team played there fullest knowing their spot in the semi finals was at stake. The girls used all they had been taught to keep up and not be intimidated by their opponents or the stadium, but in the end the score board was not in our favor. It was a loss we could leave with holding our heads high. We were all just happy to be there and happy that everyone got a chance to help our team. I am excited to see the girls play next year as I know this experience has only strengthened their determination to become better kabadi players as well as over all athletes.
-Guru Amrit Hari