Hi, I’m Dyumna Madan and a content writer at resilientHer! I don’t have a major story, but I would like to tell you one that helped shape me into the person I am today. I’ve played multiple sports for my state, school, and clubs, but football shaped me the most.
My first memories of playing sports were when I used to play cricket with my dad for hours at end in our tiny hallway. I eventually transitioned to recently traveling 1700 km away from home to represent my state for football. My dad encouraged me every minute to motivate me when the going got tough.
I have been playing since I remember but was always the silent, under confident kid. When everyone walked around talking with their friends during recess, I played cricket with a tiffin box and a ball made out of foil (which are honestly my happiest memories). I did not play any sports for the school team until the 6th standard since the coach never kept tryouts, and I didn’t have enough self-confidence to ask for a team position. The coach would just take the girls she assumed were interested in playing.
When a new coach came in and announced selections for football, I tried out as a goalkeeper and got in. The first game was the day after the selections, and it was against a team that had been beating us for 10 years straight now. I didn’t get a spot in the starting 11, and once the coach was sure we had lost, he sent me in, and well, I let in two more goals.
We lost that game 5-0, and that day, as a 12-year-old, I was determined to become a better version of myself, become an integral part of the team, and really train hard. Being a short goalkeeper, I had to work very hard, especially since my jump wasn’t too great. Being the first player on and the last player off the pitch, my game steadily improved. I went and trained at home, too, and I had fallen in love with football.
It started with an ego problem and me wanting to prove myself to me. Over time, it transformed into me just wanting to spend every minute on the pitch because I was finally good at something and believed in myself.
The whole year’s training came down to game day with the same team at the same location as the previous year. I was told I would be starting, and on the bus ride to the ground, I was just praying to God that we shouldn’t lose worse than 2-0.
It was raining, gloomy and just a sad day but who knew it would be the happiest of my life. Our team put up the best game of their lives with everyone doing everything to prevent a goal from being scored, and we ended up goalless after extra time.
Now the game went into penalties where and this was the ultimate test for me. One mistake and the whole team would lose because of me. After 4 penalties, the score was even, with both teams scoring 3 each.
For the last penalty, my teammate managed to score. Now, if I saved the penalty, we would’ve won the game. The player from the other team came up to the ball. She was nervous, too, but was thinking straight. She observed I was short and shot the ball, trying to position it right below the crossbar, and well, it was aimed to perfection.
When I replay the moment in my head, time slows down. This was my one chance to take my place in the school and prove that I wasn’t all the useless kid I thought I was. It was a year’s hard work, but more importantly, it was the 5-year-old me going to football practices thinking one day I would make those tough and match-winning saves that I wanted to prove right.
I jumped higher than I ever had with hands outstretched and deflected it above the crossbar. My team ERUPTED. Everyone ran around hugging each other and celebrating, and I let the moment sink in. This was the start. The next day, the school speaker announced that we won and I was the man of the match, and suddenly I had immense confidence. I went up to people and made friendships that year that I know will last a lifetime. We ended up taking the state championship that year.
My coach saw potential and got me a chance to play in a club, and that was the pathway for me to play at a higher level. I represented my state twice for football and explored rugby, and played for a club and for my state.
I owe so much to the game and have started understanding the importance of every little thing I do. Had I not made that save that day, I don’t think I would have enough confidence to join Resilienther as well and wouldn’t have developed so much as a person.
There have been many losses, tears, injuries, and tough decisions, but also a sense of comfort whenever I step on the football pitch.
Throughout all this, my mother has always been my rock. She has been present for every game, driven me to every 6 am practice, and comforted me when we would lose a game when I blamed myself for the loss. Thank you! And thanks to the Resilienther team, who are always there even for you anything you need.