• Surat City United

Stories Around Us - Ft. Khushi Shah

I don't remember how old I was when I started playing football. But eventually, this game became a part of my life. Little did I know life without football would seem incomplete, now.

As a female football player, it is difficult. I faced two major problems. We could hardly create a school team, let alone a district team for Surat. Thankfully I had really supportive parents to let me go everywhere I wanted to for tournaments & selections. Along with that, they trusted me I’d keep a balance & work on my missed academics. Due to that freedom, from an early age I had never compromised on my hobbies while working for my career. Surprisingly now, my hobby is my career - what more could I ask for?

From not knowing anything about football to football becoming my habit.

“One of your most cherished moments from playing a professional match?”

Our Gujarat team was ready & we went to Delhi for Subroto nationals. We were playing against Haryana. And Harayana is considered one of the best teams, even then. My team knew that we weren’t going to win against Haryana - we were sure of this while getting ready for the match. Plus, the rain was pouring. As if everything was going against us, most of the ground was a puddle.

As the game began & as the rain joined in, we forgot that we were playing at a national level. We forgot about winning or losing. The only thing mattered was the fact that we are playing. We were having FUN. Because it felt like we were playing in a shallow swimming pool, neither of the teams were able to play. We were just enjoying ourselves. There was no rivalry, just 22 girls playing & enjoying the sport they fell in love with.

This match against Haryana made me realize that the point is to have fun. Wins & losses are inevitable, rather why not enjoy.

It’s been years since I started playing football, & I have only fallen deeper in love with this beautiful sport. Because now I just don’t play for myself, I stand to create such a platform for the entire Surat city to play. Creating a platform that I didn’t get.

I have immense more stories from my national tournaments to inter-school matches, to 5 AM training camps & to creating a football academy. But I thought let me share the experience that made me realize the importance of enjoying & playing the game, instead of making it all about winning or losing.

- Khushi Shah

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