That Night When I Ducked To Orlando

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 by Kratik in
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They bowled a bouncer, we ducked well, it was too high for the keeper to catch and it went for four which carved a path for us to Pasadena...

I do most things last minute. I am extremely impromptu. I hardly plan. But I manage my time very, very well and somehow, things just pan out perfectly. Read what I have written in the previous sentence again and if you know me, you would know that's how I roll. Also, add to this the fact that I rely on miracles every time and yes, they do happen every time. Not the best and definitely not the safest way to do things, but without a shadow of a doubt, it is the most adventurous.

I had worked on the soccer and performance analysis tool, Prozone, for over two years and they were coming over from England to Chicago, IL to conduct a certification course. I didn't know it was happening until a week ago before the workshop when I saw their posting on twitter. So, I had to book the tickets ASAP, which I did, and get ready to work on the Miami game, who were coming into town to play us at the Doak Campbell Stadium. Having already cruised past Clemson two weeks ago at Death Valley 51-14, one more win would have meant that we were gunning big time for the top two spot.           

           

It was a great night at Doak and our players were incredible as we beat the Canes 41-14. It was a great team performance and two phrases that reverberated around the stadium were 'One Team, One Heartbeat...Florida State Seminoles' and 'We Want Bama!' Alabama Crimson Tide were the #1 ranked team and regarded as one to beat.

Later that weekend, we got to know that we had jumped to the #2 national ranking, but Oregon Ducks, who were #3 had a game in hand, which if they had won, would eclipse us as the #2 college team in America. The game was to be played on Thursday, November 7, 2013, the day before I was supposed to fly out to Chicago from Orlando.

                                  

I repeat, "I do most things last minute. I am extremely impromptu. I hardly plan. But I manage my time very, very well and somehow, things just pan out perfectly. And I do rely on miracles." I knew I was catching a flight from Orlando a week ago and I should have booked my bus tickets from Tallahassee to Orlando when I booked my flight tickets, but I did not. I thought to myself, "The flight leaves at 6 AM Friday morning, so, I can technically still leave Thursday evening and get to Orlando airport the same night. Then, stay there for about seven hours and then, board my plane." In theory, this would have worked out just fine as the Greyhound buses ran throughout the day and always had free seats. Therefore, like most students do, I waited until Wednesday night for ride/carpool and when I didn't one, I started looking out for bus tickets.

Again, 'in theory', my plan was great, but practically it was messed up because some times even the most improbable things happen. For some reason, every single bus to Orlando was booked for Thursday. It was very, very strange. Even the Red Coach buses were full. It was weird and seeing no vacancy did knock the stuffing out of me. I was like, "How can that happen?!"

Thursday morning was crazy. I went to the travel offices, surfed through every single website that sold tickets (bus tickets, train tickets, flight tickets) and rented out cars, but either I didn't get the ticket or it was way too expensive. So, I was left with only one, and often the worst, option: Craigslist. I hit up everyone on Craigslist who had posted an advertisement, but received no help. I had lost hope but knew the value of the Prozone certification and was ready to pay close to $400 for a flight ticket from Tallahassee to Orlando, when a friend of mine informed me about a friend of his diving down to Orlando in two hours from the time then.

I couldn't believe that it was happening. It was absolutely astonishing. My friend drove me home and as I had already packed, I picked up my luggage and was set to go. The girl who drove me to Orlando, she was a part of the famous FSU marching band and on our way to Orlando, all we did was sing the 'Fight Song' and did the warchant and the chop multiple times while listening to the commentary of the Oregon-Stanford game. Stanford beat Oregon, which meant that we stayed second and now, were firm favourites to go to Pasadena to play for the national championship.

                                  

What a celebration that was. I worked for the the FSU Football team and she played in the marching band, so, technically, we both were a part of the team. Therefore, our celebrations were pretty extraordinary. We celebrated at the gas station where we had stopped. Doing the warchant extremely loud. Showing off the chop, we let everyone knew that we were a part of the Nole nation. And yes, we did yell, "WE WANT BAMA'" on the highway.

It was absolutely perfect. I couldn't have imagined it any better. She even dropped me off to the airport at the US Airways terminal on the Orlando airport. You get what I mean by relying on miracles?

It was like, it had all happened for a reason. How many times out of a million, you wouldn't expect me to get a bus ticket? I mean, even right now that I am checking, there is space in the bus which leaves in 5 minutes. Pretty strange, isn't it? Especially, because it was a Thursday and not even a weekend. As they say, everything happens for a reason. I don't know what reason was behind all this happening, but it certainly made the trip to Orlando very, very adventurous.

I soon got certified as a performance analyst through Prozone and we ended up playing Auburn for the national title on January 6, 2014, whom we beat to be crowned the collegiate football champions of America in a nerve-wrecking game. It was a great season, with top-notch players and a wonderful staff, who work for whom I consider to be the best head coach in college football, Coach Fisher.

                             

Maybe it was careless and risky on my part, but it was an awesome experience. If you read my blogposts, you will learn of my journey from India to FSU Football, and one thing that's constant is the presence of miracles throughout my stories. Don't be stupid, plan and plan well, but if it doesn't go your way, believe and know that miracles happen. As the latest Nike commercial reads, "Risk Everything!"

I don't believe in miracles, I rely on them :)

- Kratik Malhotra

When Jackie Shroff Told Me To Do Sports Management...

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014 by Kratik in
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In July 2009, I had met the famous Indian actor, Jackie Shroff, who – listening to what I was doing – advised me to go in for a degree in sports management. Many who know me from the time when I just an engineering student – and doing not so well – know this story well. The others, whom I have met over the past four years, not so much.

It had barely been a month since I had taken my third year electronics engineering exams from the University of Pune and I had started interning with one of the most selling national newspapers in India, the Indian Express, as a sports journalist, when I met the famous Indian actor named Jackie Shroff at a press conference in the outskirts of Pune, India.

I had never really met any of the Indian actors in the past and so, meeting Mr. Shroff was quite something for me. So much so that I called home the moment I saw him and told my mother, “JACKIE SHROFF IS STANDING BEHIND ME!”


At the press conference, along with a few others, Mr. Shroff delivered a great speech and soon after, the media were invited to have lunch. The actor, who has plenty of hit movies, was busy speaking to a few journalists who were desperate for his quotes. In order to write a better story, I sneaked past a couple and popped my head in the front row to hear what he had to say. He soon finished speaking and said, “Good?” To my disappointment, the journalists nodded which meant that I couldn’t really get any more quotes and I was too shy to ask him questions. But what happened next has lived fresh in my memory ever since.

Most of the other journalists there were at least aged 30 (if not more) and I was  this 21-year old boy, who was about to start his fourth (senior) year of his undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree. Mr. Shroff turned to me and said, “Aur young man, kahan se?” Which translates two, “Young man, where are you from?” I smiled and with confidence responded, “Sir, Indian Express but I am also an engineering student.”

Mr. Shroff questioned, “Tu kya engineering, journalism…?” I gleefully replied, “Sir, but this is what I want to do in life. I am going to England to do a degree in sports journalism from the University of Central Lancashire (UCL) as well.”

Mr. Shroff, “Jounalism accha field hai, par tu sports management mein degree kar. It’s an upcoming field and paisa bhi jyada hai.” And I thought to myself, “Maybe I should look into it. It’s Jackie Shroff telling me after all.”

I was always told that as a journalist one must never ask for autographs of or pictures with the celebrities as it is deemed ‘unprofessional’. As a journalist, I followed that notion most times, but there are always exceptions. Think of it this way, I had Jackie Shroff in front of me who had surprised me with his down-to-earth attitude and nature, and had made me turn into a fan of his and his personality. Ek autograph toh banta tha!

What did I do next? I asked him for his autograph and I wasn’t ashamed. I still am not. He asked me for my name and signed it with a written message. The message said, “Be determined and not disappointed.” I looked at him and remarked, “Sir, aapne likh diya na, toh ab done.”

What he told me next really, really touched me. He explained, “Be determined: have the biggest dreams possible. Never be disappointed: stick with your dreams and work towards them in order to be what you want to be.”

It was an advice that was philosophical, spiritual and motivational at the same time. On my way back home, all I did was feel grateful to God for making me meet a wonderful person, who also happens to be an absolutely brilliant actor.

Two-and-a half years later, I left for the United States to do a Masters’ program in Sport Management from the Florida State University. For me, both personally and professionally, the program did wonders, and now that I find myself working as a performance analyst for the number #1 ranked American Football collegiate team, I cannot but thank Mr. Jackie Shroff for his advice at that one press conference in July 2009 in the outskirts of Pune.


Every single morning, before going to work, I smile, feel extremely grateful to God, meditate and say to myself, “I am living the dream” because without the words of people like Jackie Shroff at vital times in my life, I couldn’t have achieved what I have achieved. But I ain't done yet...there is still a long way to go. To be true, it is still only a percentage of where I want to go and what I want to be. I am aiming for the impossible because I know with God’s grace, even the impossible becomes possible.

-         - Kratik Malhotra

The Hole World

Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 by Kratik in
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I have often come across people who think of themselves as ones in a hole. When you speak to them, all they would tell you is, “Man, my life is f***** up,” and if you ask them what exactly happened, they would go like, “I HAVE STUDENT LOANS TO PAY!” Or “MY GIRLFRIEND DUMPED ME! Or maybe, “I HAVE TAKEN A $1,000,000 PAY-CUT!” They would crib about most things that have happened to them.

And then, I have come across people who are pleased, even though they don’t have as much as the people mentioned above. Who are these people? What do they do? They are the strong, independent and willing souls that have landed on this planet as a result of God’s creation, and in them they are heroes who not only smile, they in fact, conquer and from within, they conjure glory.

I was more like first ones.

Couple of years ago, round about this time year, I was working for probably the biggest sports analysis company in Asia as a soccer analyst, the world’s most read soccer website as a soccer journalist and the most well managed professional soccer club in India as a soccer marketer, but I can say, I am doing  better now. Working in marketing and sales, we had to sell tickets and get people for our soccer games. Having volunteered for almost three years as a social activist, I remember approaching this non-profit organization that took responsibility for teaching rural kids in India. As a club employee, I had these students come to the stadiums to watch our club games for free. It all worked out well and the kids made it in time for the East Bengal game, which in fact, was one of our first few games of the season.


The head personnel for the organization’s Pune branch, Arhaan, got about one hundred kids to the stadium and having spoken to my boss, I made sure that the kids made it to the sidelines as the players walked out for warm-up, only to be later seated in the VIP section. As the little rural children, who were dressed in their uniforms, got to the sidelines, their excitement was unbelievable. Some shook the hands of the players as they were walking out on to the fields, some shouted out their names and some whispered, “Hey, look at their leg muscles…oooh,” or, “This is the first time I have ever met a football player!”

As the game went on, they made the maximum noise and chanted the PFC theme, “Who are we? PFC!” It was great to see them have an experience of a life-time. The entire incident shook me and made me realize that it’s these moments that people remember. You are not going to remember if you ever failed in a test 36 years on, but what you will remember is meeting a football player who appears in the newspaper the very next day.

After the game, Arhaan thanked me and the club for everything we had done for their organization’s kids. As I was walking towards the parking, just seeing the look on each student’s face, I couldn’t stop smiling and later, I went to Arhaan and I asked him what I had resisted for a long time. I questioned, “So, are these kids really happy?” After which, he looked at me in confused manner and said, “You know, our kids are always happy, but today was definitely something special.”

They come to school because they love to and because they want to learn. They really love to learn. Unlike most kids, who are forced to go to school, they have an easier option: they can work in restaurants to support their family, but instead, they come to us because they want to learn. They too have big dreams.”
That moment was the moment when everything started to seem very different. Who were those kids? Well, they certainly are born in the richest of families. In fact, their families can’t even afford to pay for school, but they still go to schools because they want to learn and such non-profit organizations do a fantastic job in making sure that these kids get everything from books, to pens, to uniforms. Most of us are blessed enough to be born if upper/lower middle-class/rich families, but we are always not happy for something or the other, whereas, kids from lower financial backgrounds love everything that life gives them and their respect for it is insurmountable. It was a real eye-opener for me.

An year later, sometime in late-November/early-December, I was in Atlanta and visiting a homage for mentally infirm people. It was like being in Forest Gump or Koi Mil Gaya but only ten times of that. It was a scary but a very pleasant experience. Imagine yourself being surrounded by people who have been left at the centers by their families, who don’t know where they are at and why are they there, who don’t know what they are doing and on top of it, who have a misconception of who they are.

Maybe they live though a child in them or maybe they live their past over and over again…I don’t know, but one thing that could easily be inferred was the fact that they were all childlike and not childish. Their smiles, their joy, their excitement and their love for us was astonishing. I remember when one women from the mentally infirm home called me to her side and told me to stay safe, and also, blessed me to stay happy. I couldn’t believe it. In spirituality we talk of a ‘shift’, which refers to the shift in the thought process and it was exactly that. I don’t know what has happened to me since then. When I want to cry, I cry; when I want to laugh, I laugh, but I make sure that I celebrate life every moment like they do.

                                         

Those people…they were playful and joyful, (you talk of a girl dumping you, these people were dumped by their families to rotten) and also knew that life is difficult, but by then, they had also realized that every moment deserves to be celebrated. For me, it was even tough to imagine where they were and what each of them had gone through, but the startling thing about them was that they all were happy, and loved our company. It was a massive, massive shift for me.

You know, you must take a little time out of your lives and go and visit the homeless shelters because you must meet them. You must meet these people. They will teach you a lesson. Small worries of your life would disappear and dissolve, and like them, even if a little thing brings you happiness, you will celebrate it as if it is your salvation. Moreover, you will be grateful to God for what you have got.

In this post, I have talked of rural kids and mentally infirm people, but there are thousands out there waiting for you to visit them. Take your first foot forward. Visit these people, who live in this moment; that moment which passes as you snap your fingers. They aren’t the Jordons or Will Smiths of this world, but what they do, they turn into Morgan Freemans and Rajnikants because deep down they know, “Every single time that you are challenged, God wants you to come out as a hero.”

To me, I take my inspiration from these people: people who don’t have as much as others but their belief, strength faith and smile carries them past every single day.

"When you have done everything possible possible, He makes the impossible possible." – Dinesh Ghodke

Love,

Kratik

The Florida State University: The Impossible Dream #GraduationSpecial

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013 by Kratik in
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“Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.” - G. M. Trevelyan



I still remember getting onto the plane in Paris, boarding a flight to Cincinnati to get to the United States, having a heart filled with enthusiasm, an adrenalin gushing through the veins and a smile sparkling with chime written all over my face. As I left home, I described it as a voyage, and one that was to be my greatest adventure and the toughest challenge that I ever would see. I had two choices right in front of me. Either I could have done things that most do - concentrate on my ‘primary’ objective, or I could have done stuff that people had written me off for. Being me: Na├»ve but natural, dreamer but determined, silly but happy, perpetually confused but peculiarly peaceful, and hardly religious but deeply spiritual, I couldn’t have gone for the former.

Moreover, having been blessed by Sri Sri Ravishankarji (Guruji), and having been told by Dinesh (Ghodke) Bhaiya, “When you have done everything possibly possible, He makes the Impossible possible,” I was too determined to hold back, only looking for a chance to prove people wrong. I wanted to be an example to every Indian kid growing up, who had ever dared to dream, and was sick and tired of the 'engineering' monotony. So, I built my ship and got ready mentally to set sail in order to eventually stop at Manchester United.


As I landed in Cincinnati, it was exactly how I had imagined it to be, maybe even better. I had to pinch myself for a second and tell the little boy inside of me, “Heck yeah, I am in America!” I had left India on a positive note: as a good – and not a gossip – soccer journalist, as a decent soccer marketer and a pretty-good soccer analyst. I remember my last couple of days in India well and especially that one incident when I went up to Khalid Jamil, one of the finest Indian soccer coaches, to tell him that I would be moving to US to pursue a two year Masters’ course in Sports Management. Listening to which he replied, “Toh fir idhar aa ke kaam karna”, which translates to ‘come back to India to work’. Moreover, he had patted me on the back to say, “Mehnat karna, tu accha karega.” Translating to, ‘work hard, you will do well’.

Getting such comments from a man whom I had an enormous respect for was like a blessing, making me swim (and not drown) in my own tears of sheer gratitude. In fact, I still get shivers as I think about that meeting and his words. Some things are absolutely incredible and unforgettable. Taking his words like his blessing, I had become stronger deep inside. In school and in college, I had failed only to get up, prove my worth and win, and although I knew it was going to be tough, I wasn’t worried.

 “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” - Paulo Coelho

My primary aim as I started with my Masters’ program at the Florida State University was to find a place to work on campus and after hearing that I could deal in soccer technology, FSU Seminole soccer did not hesitate even once before presenting me with an opportunity to work for the team and analyze their soccer games. I thank the coaches for that. They were brilliant to me.

As soccer rolled, Finnegan's followed and watching English Premier League on the weekends with soccer fans became an attraction. Soon, occasional parties followed and FSU life had started to set in. I still remember my first party at Stetson's at the end of which I promised myself to never party again. I was hit by a massive thunderstorm named 'culture shock'. I had seen it all in movies but seeing it first hand was different. I was so moved back then, but now, I can look at the entire incident and laugh my heart out. It was classic international student moment! How I sat in a corner and said, "No, no, no! This is wrong!" Hahahahaha!

But what was the ‘impossible dream’? It wasn’t working for FSU Soccer, was it? No, it wasn’t. The impossible dream was to live like how I was living like in India, but even better. It was to inspire people, gain love and most importantly, make the most of my ability, learn more than I could and become the best of me. In short, in Guruji’s words, I wanted to “walk with feet light but leave my footprints behind.” In spiritual terms, I didn’t know how to do it but I had an ‘intention’, and it worked out superbly well.

“Every noble work is at first impossible.” - Thomas Carlyle

I got a teaching assistantship wherein I inspired people. To be true, I taught an introductory Art of Living course and they loved it. Now, obviously, I couldn’t teach an Art of Living course. Smiling relentlessly and talking about the small problems in life, and teaching students how to smile through them was my objective. I believe, I did a decent job at it. Well, at least, some of the testimonials and course evaluations suggest the same.

Personally, teaching as a part of my TA was not enough and I wanted to contribute more, so, I decided on teaching stress-relief programs to some very special people who needed it the most: the homeless. What an experience that was. I remember leading them through their first meditation (yog nidra) and after seeing them come out of the practice, they were smiling like I had never seen them smile. It was out of this world. I cannot describe it. It was extraordinary. It’s moments like those that I feel so proud and grateful to God for having me learn, understand and experience spirituality. Really, what’s better than teaching people to relieve their stress on freewill, believe in themselves, feel lighter and stationing a smile on their face? Nothing, ask me.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” - Walt Disney

I went on to work in performance analysis and sponsorship for IMG Academy (click to read how it was a dream come true) with some of the biggest names in American sport. Later, I became one of the only handful fewpeople in the world to get featured on the Catapult Sports, a technology that I learned at IMG, website. I also got a chance to speak through Skype in my very own class. Now, I am back in Tallahassee and I am working with FSU Seminoles Football in performance analysis on Catapult at the Florida State University. With only a month left for the season to start, watch us becoming national champions this year. Watch us play at Doak and see how we tear past oppositions to lift the championship.

On the way, I met some wonderful people and who loved me more than I could ever imagine. They called me a friend, a brother and a mate. I have the best friends ever!



Right from partying every weekend until two in the morning, to singing in Art of Living satsangs and in Hare Krishna (Iskon) kirtans, to learning about Jesus/Bible and Krishna/Bhagvad Gita, to falling in love and rising out of it, to spreading love, to working my socks off professionally, I have done everything that I could have asked for and wouldn’t like to change a thing when I look back.

All I wanted was a shot at the sports industry abroad and at times, even I have to shake myself to see where I am. It’s not NY Yankess, but had you offered it a year ago, I would have taken it without thinking and had you told me I would be here five years ago, I would have called you one out of your sense. However, on the other hand, it’s only a fraction of where I want to be. My dream is Manchester United and is still a distance away, but – in Dinesh Bhaiya’s words – I am doing everything possible to make the impossible dream possible. Every morning that I wake up, I smile, I feel grateful and I say to myself, “Let’s win it!” before going to work. It’s a divine feeling, believe me.

Friends, opportunity, confidence, love, knowledge, exposure, skills and an experience of a lifetime, a miraculous journey, the Florida State University has given me more than what I could have asked for.

Today is my graduation. I am a student today, I will be an Alumni tomorrow, but a Nole for the rest of my life.


I thank God for everything as it’s him for who I am and where I have reached. It’s Him due to whom that a little Indian boy, who came with massive aspirations, to America can now write a blogpost describing how he is living his dream under the sun and is on the path to get to his dream destination, Manchester United. Getting to Manchester United may seem like a miracle, but I rely on miracles, don't I? Yes, I do.

 

I'm glad that I met ya'll. You guys absolutely rock! I thought I left home to come to America, but I just realized that I formed a home in this country. At times, I do miss home but it's love of each one of you that makes me feel like I have a family here. Forever in your debt.
                                                                                                           - Kratik Malhotra

Say No To Racism - Didier Drogba

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Kratik in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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(This has to go down as my most casually written, unedited article)

I remember writing this article 'The Support For Fabrice Muamba Shows Why Football Is Still The Beautiful Game (click to read)’ for Goal.com and coming across this image (below) – of Jermaine Defoe being consoled by Gareth Bale after seeing Fabrice Muamba being stretched off the field – on Getty - Goal.com source for getting pictures for their article. After seeing this picture, there was no way that I could possibly not bring up racism in the article, especially after taking one of my favorite classes, the Sport and Media class, in which I learned so much about racism in America, at the Florida State University during my first semester here.


Recently, I came across an interview from one of my most loved players from one of United’s rival teams (and trust me, there aren’t many) and I absolutely melted reading it.

I won’t edit it one-bit, this if for you to read:

Drogba: "It happened in the time I played for Chelsea. One day we had a public training and many fans were there to watch us. A young boy waved, so I just went over to him, I thought he wants an autograph.
“When I stood in front of him I asked him 'Hey young mister, do you want an autograph?' He called me a Nigger. His father got angry and told his son that he mustn't say this word. I told him i'll do this. I went on my knees and looked the young boy in his eyes and said 'Look, i'm black and you're white, now i'll show you something...' I took his hand and led her to my breast. 'Can you feel it?”

“I have a heartbeat - like you.
I have two hands - like you.
And I have two feets too - like you!
When I get hurt I say 'ouch' - like you do!
Do you realize something?
We're both humans, no matter if i'm black or white”

“The boy started to cry and ran into his father's arms.
He had tears in his eyes too. I gave the young boy my jersey as a sign of my respect!"

…Didier the man!
What a champ!
I remember when Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League final, it really didn’t bother me as I saw Didier Drogba win. I hated it, but I didn’t shut the door and try to sleep. I had a smile on my face in utter disbelief. Like Martin Tyler said after Drogba scored the penalty, “It was written in the stars.”





Whenever I have looked at Drogba, I have always got a positive vibe, quite opposite to that of the other man in the picture. Jose Mourinho has described his impact on the world as a ‘person: as an ‘African, as an emperor of the Ivory Coast, as a father, and as a son and as a friend’. And Jose has got it spot on: he has impacted the world as a person - as a human being. What a man Drogba is!

There are some things money can’t buy and one of them is respect.
#RespectDidierDrogba

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(What an experience I have had at IMG! Passed faster than light and learned more than the Solskjaer of technology)


“I tell you, nothing is going to happen here. I wish we were working for IMG.” ---  My friend’s words while sitting in the parking lot of an Indian soccer stadium, during our marketing stint at an Indian soccer club, having failed to fill the seats with people.

Many of you might remember my blog-post, written about two and a half years ago, ‘A Touch Closer’. It was about how after being rejected by this software company, Tieto, God presented me with an opportunity to work and get paid, for what was a lot of money for me back then, by the largest soccer data and analytics company in Asia, Real Time Sportscast (RTS), as a soccer commentator and analyst.

After RTS, I went on to write for the largest soccer website in the world, market the biggest and the best professionally managed club in India, and in the past five months, I have interned with the largest sport management company in the world. I have come a long way but it's only 1% of where I want to be. Reflecting back, that job with RTS did end up getting me a touch closer.

At RTS, I was taught about stats, how they are needed, their importance, value and most importantly, their use. I started from scratch, did online soccer commentary of games, helped collect statistics and worked as a statistician, helped report the statistics and most importantly, working with technology and data, and analyzed them to aid the teams playing in the Indian Soccer League (I-League). It was a great experience.

When I moved to the United States, I was put on board of the FSU Women’s Soccer Team as a soccer analyst. It was a great year-long experience and it helped me in mastering my dream technology/software, Prozone. Now, I am called a ‘Prozone Expert’ by a few people in the industry and having learned Dartfish, I look to take my analysis to the next levels.

Late September 2012, I had applied for an internship in Sponsorship with the academy of the world’s largest sport management company, International Management Group (IMG), and they came back to me asking me to focus on another area, along with Sponsorship, Performance Technology (PT). I had offers for a marketing internship with NASCAR in Daytona, a marketing (branding) internship with Florida Panthers and a communications internship with the Philadelphia Union, but when IMG came calling with PT, my choice was clear, even though one of the other internships offered to pay me an hourly wage and another would have covered my housing and food.



When I started with IMG, that thing of ‘working for IMG’ had sunk in, completely. With my first week here, I was still caught in the ’IMG awe’. Seeing the work-culture, the professionalism among staff, the facility and infrastructure, the star athletes on campus, my job and responsibilities, the level of technology used, the knowledge to gain…everything…it was just marvelous, and I couldn’t believe that I was there. And to my loss, I, sort of, had started feeling that the organization was too big for me, and I had started undervaluing myself. I wish I had respected myself as much as I had done at any of the places where I worked in the past, but it was a priceless lesson from a learning standpoint. I won’t lie, I had a shaky start, but I improved in my work and partly, it was due to the IMG staff, who me feel like I was a part of the team. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them for that. It underlines their professionalism and management skill.

Alright, back to joining IMG. When I was told that I am cleared to join IMG, I remembered my friend’s quote (mentioned at the start of the post). It was all like a dream. I say, “I rely on miracles,” and that is what it was, it was a miracle. From a good old electronics engineer, who only ever sat for one job interview because he was clear that he wanted to get to Manchester United and Sky Sports, to a boy who interviewed players from several top clubs including Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, and is followed by Sky Sports journalists on Twitter, to one who was asked to be the face of the private television of an Indian soccer club that had their best season this year, to a boy who worked every day with the number one collegiate women’s soccer team in America on the number one soccer analysis software in the world used by the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal, and to a boy who was stepping into something that he considered absolutely massive, it was unbelievable how far I had come.

My internship was dual-departmental, and for the sponsorship department, I worked on sponsorship activation, sponsorship representation, inventory management, sponsor events, sponsor-related social media interaction and sponsor-apparel allotment, amongst several things. Working and interacting with some of the top sponsorship professionals at IMG, along with the personnel from sponsors that visited the IMG Academy campus onsite, was a magnificent experience.

For the performance department, I dealt with some of the state-of-the-art technologies that were there to learn. My job in performance revolved around working on Catapult, but later, I also started working on Dartfish and worked on match analysis with IMG’s under-14 soccer team. It was a major challenge but it was terrific. Working with Catapult was a little tough because I did not have the necessary exercise science knowledge needed but I was there to implement the technology, and I was very clear in that aspect.

The Catapult Guy! (Real Time Analysis)
I believe, I did the best job that I possibly could have done and in the process, learned a lot. Dartfish was awesome. Knowing how to use the tagging feature in Dartfish has taught me how to integrate various technologies together maximizing its use. I thought Match Analysis (MA) would be a piece of cake for me, having worked on the best technology that was there to work on, in Prozone. But Match Analysis was different as it required a lot more manual work, but was no big deal for me to adapt. However, with enough on the table to work with, finding time to work with MA was tough, especially because I was not bound to work on when I started. Working with MA and IMG soccer was something that I took up due to my love for soccer and my two-year analysis experience in the sport.

In all, IMG offered me an invaluable experience. In fact, I would have paid to work on some of the things that I worked on and gain the knowledge that I gained. It was very-very special indeed. Every single morning I would wake up, smile and say, “I am living my dream,” and then, leave my apartment for work. I have loved every moment of my time in Bradenton, Florida. I still remember when some of my colleagues brought in a desk and set it up for me; what a moment that was! I was so touched. Five minutes after that happened, I went into the restroom, locked myself in one of the toilets and cried. To me, it showed that I was valued and loved. It was such a touching thing. Even on my final day, gifts and comments like these made me melt. By the way, in the picture is a shakeweight gifted to me by one of the 'crew' members. I will miss the crew; everyone, absolutely everyone.


There are so many memories that I am taking back home with me and holding which in the highest regard, I would cherish these for a lifetime.

My office for the summer - Doak Campbell Stadium
Hey reader, if you are looking for an internship or a job, apply for a position at IMG Academy, it may not only fulfill your expectation, but it may even supersede it.


As for me, it’s time to move on and further enhance my learning. Next stop: Florida State Football. Yes, I am heading back to Tallahassee. As my Tally lads may say, “Back In the hood.” In the hood, yes, but who knows, I may head back to IMG in the future again :)

Yesterday, it was IMG; tomorrow it will be Manchester United. My dreams and aspirations make me a dreamer. Thanks for reading this post from the nib of my pen.

Follow your heart. Have faith. Live your dream.

Love,
Kratik

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My Take: Not Nineteen Forever

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Kratik in Labels: , , , , ,
2


  ('My Take' is the new thing that I have started with my blog. Taking the knowledge of my Guru, Sri Sri Ravishankar, through my blog, this is my shot at keeping people's smile up, give them belief and having them maintain faith.

Let's do it!

So, the song that I am doing is 'Not Nineteen Forever'.

I have been listening to this song over and over again. It’s a great song. Love it! With Manchester United’s 20th title closely linked with it, it is, really, the theme of this week).


Here it is:

She tried to peel me off the pavement
Tried to insinuate sometimes

To underline it, it’s the mind. You see how it works. When you are not doing fine with someone (not necessarily opposite sex), you always feel that it is he/she who is doing all he can to harm you. But you know, it doesn’t always work out like that. Now, obviously, there are nut-heads, but that’s not the case most times. It all may just be a coincidence. As my Guru, Sri Sri Ravishankar (@SriSriSpeaks) says, “Leave it all in the past. Real freedom is freedom from future from past.” Do that. Forget about it and move on.

I am in danger of going too far
Asked me would I like to go for tea and toast
Get your hand off my thigh
In the car she turned to me and said

Now, she had invited him for tea and toast, and he gets closer - puts his hand on her thigh. And then, moans. I mean seriously, ungli do toh hath pakadna chahte hain! Lol. And on top of it, gets frustrated and writes a song. Many of you must have observed this type of a behavior in you or in people around you. It underlines too much expectation. No expectation, no heartbreak. So, chill leave what’s passed in the past and live in this moment.

You're not nineteen forever, pull yourself together.
I know it seems strange but things, they change
Older woman and a younger man
Both of them doing all they can

Now, this is epic! I mean epic! So, now, he is trying to boost his own ego saying…you’re getting old! This happens to so many people. When the things are going well, they say "You are the most beautiful girl," and when things go bad, "You frigging suck! You’re not good enough for me!" If this is happening with you…don’t worry. Chill. Become aware. Accept the situation and know that this will pass. Live in this very moment.

Tried to get your attention all night long,
Asked you once, I asked you twice, asked you four times,
If you'd like to dance to that song,
Front crawled the crowd down the stairs,
And I followed you out in the rain, nowhere to be found,
Never mind, you'll probably never look that pretty again.

This is more self ego boost. He asks this girl for a dance several times; the girl refuses and as it turns out, it hurts his ego. Then, he follows the girl out; the girl doesn’t care and leaves. That's when he goes like, “Chuck that! She’ll never look as pretty as she once looked, so, who cares?” This reminds me of one of my classmates. He would go and try for every girl in a club and when the girl would reject him, he would be like, "She was fat! She didn't look good," and I would be there asking him, "Why on earth did you even try then?" Has it ever happened to you? If so, you’ll know what happens next. You keep thinking about that girl, forever. It affects you. Well, it really affects you because your ego takes such a blow, and you end up writing a song, making your feelings and emotions public. It ends with the girl hating you and you going in depression for a bit, before you find another girl. Some of you who may be going through the situation may think, "What bullshi*", but many of you, who are sitting pretty, past this phase, will be like, “You are a rockstar, boy!”

So, lesson time. Smile, accept the situation. Have faith and believe in God, and know that all the unpleasant situations have always passed and so with this one. Chill. Have fun and live this moment because this moment is the only this that is now!

If you are not going through any emotional drama, keep living it up mate!

Love,
Kratik


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