How is it possible to come upon a group of hundreds of children who speak different languages, are separated by gender, are from different cultures and religions, and come from challenging economic backgrounds and somehow immediately feel included, welcomed, comfortable and cherished? The answer is quite straightforward: Sports. In India, where all the characteristics above dominate the everyday life of millions of children, the need for an activity that transcends so many challenges is welcomed.
I recently had the pleasure of helping to organise sporting events in various communities in India. In every instance, I was surrounded by groups of hundreds of wonderful students very different from myself. They spoke different languages, we looked very different from each other, and we came from completely different parts of the world; yet, when the whistle blew and we started to play together, all the differences somehow disappeared and we were just a group of children and adults playing the sport we love together