I'll be brutally honest and say that I was not born with a burning desire to join a sports management company. In fact, I don't think anybody in India knows what a sports management company does ( even now, I am not sure). Some knowledgeable people may disagree, but I bet even they didn't know much 15 months back. IPL did not exist then. Also, economy was doing pretty good.
Anyway it was just a regular night. 3 of us were sitting in a restaurant , having dinner, gulping beer. We always had(still have) arguments in general on random topics. Beer just made the discussions much more passionate & uninhibited. Anyway the topic for the day was : "Future of Indian Sports."
If I remember correctly, Indian youth football team had won something important that day( important from Indian perspective but utterly inconsequential in the larger scheme of things).
So Pranil said, "I see a great future for Indian football and Indian sports in general". Pranil was/is the optimistic type. We(me & Meka, pessimistic,cynical type) said " what nonsense". And hence, the discussion began.
Facts were quoted. History was misquoted. Passions rose. Even tempers rose.Naturally, volumes also rose. So much so that everybody else in the restaurant stopped eating and started staring at us. It seemed, some of them even wanted to join the conversation ( who wouldn't?).
Meka had slowly phased out of the discussion because he thought watching two people fight over something that doesn't affect anyone of them was much more amusing. He just made sure that argument didn't die down by carefully voicing his opinions now and then.
Mellowed out BLAH.BLAH.
"Indians lack skills, strength and stamina required for football. You can acquire one or two of those but not all three. You have to be born with at least something."
"Not true man. Have you seen kids playing football in the park in front of our building. They are damn good."
"Have you seen Brazilian or even Japanese kids play?"
"I bet if there is an excellent academy here in Bangalore , excellent football players can be produced."
"Why don't you open a fucking academy?"
"Oh. Actually a good idea. Let 's start an academy."
"Huh? I was just kidding. Anyway we(you) don't have resources to start an academy. Why don't you start with a small football tournament or something. Probably for schools. You'll know what talent we have here."
"Right. We can field our own team! Getting funds for kids shouldn't be a big problem."
"Yeah it shouldn't be."
"Let's do it."
"Ok. Although I am not convinced about the talent, it can still turn out to be a good business idea. We can even start a club!"
Normally these grand plans which start at the table, end at the table itself. But not this time. Next day emails were exchanged.Definite plans were made.Time lines were decided.
And after a week of not doing anything, we reached a grand conclusion :
"We don't know anything."
So we pondered over the fact if there was someone who knew. I decided to do some research and was pleasantly surprised to find some companies in India who did something in sports. And one of them was located very close to my house!We thought we could get them as our partner, or still better- tactfully extract some gyan and do our own thing.
So, I went to meet them. And here I am working for them. For the past 14 months.
We still can't/don't even contemplate opening up an academy.
Pranil is still working in his old tech-startup. He sometimes tells me, "Dude!A beer changed your life!"
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