Say No To Racism - Didier Drogba

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Kratik in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

(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 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 - 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.

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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.


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My Take: Not Nineteen Forever

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

  ('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!


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