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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


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