24th May 2014

I happened to be running into the room to hunt for one of my campers when I saw Narmada from Chennai writing a log. I asked her if she writes every day and If I could translate her  thoughts for this blog.

A little about Narmada, She is in the 12th standard. She is part of Pudiyador, an organisation that engages under privileged kids in different skills (academic and extra curricular) by hosting them in after-school activities year long. She’s been associated with Pudiyador for 8 years now and she credits the organisation for helping her study better and improving her educational abilities. The organisation is run by one of our National Youth Camp’s Program Director Manickam Narayanan, popularly known in India Ultimate as Manix or Baasha Bhai, along with the support of many others.

Here is Naramada’s translated entry on Day 2 of the National Camp:

As usual we woke up at 5.00 am, I’m used to it after the first day. I woke up as soon as I was woken up and got ready. I am fascinated by the ability of the younger kids to wake up this early.

At 6.00 am we had Dance class (Warm up through dance) then we went to the ground.

We threw around the disc for a while, and then the coaches asked the handlers and cutters  to separate for the vertical stack drill. We have three coaches, they translate all the instructions into Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati. I like this because it helps everybody understand what needs to be done and helps communicate.

At Breakfast, Fern Akka* (her coach) gave me the camera and trusted me to take pictures, even though I’ve known her only since the beginning of this camp. I liked this. Then we had some free time, I played Uno (Card Game) with my friends from Pudiyador and some of the other girls who are also a part of this camp.

We had the Photo Story activity, next was Mural/Banner making activity. We had to draw something from our native. I drew a scene from Pongal  ( Pongal is the Harvest festival of Tamilnadu and is usually celebrated in the month of January) and I drew a Kolam ( a traditional practice of drawing in front of doorways with rice powder)

We went for our evening session of ultimate, we did some more of vertical stack and then they taught us how to ‘Chop Stop’ , then we played a match within our team.


Chopping and Stopping.

We came back and had Paav Bhaji for dinner, I usually skip meals if I don’t like it. We had a cultural night after dinner, all of us got together to dance. I danced when Sangeeta Akka (Not me, the Arts one.) pulled me in, otherwise the boys danced really well. Some of them did back flips and I really liked watching it. We came back and slept, excited about tomorrow.

*Akka –  Sister in Tamil.

The above has been posted with permission from Narmada after she read through the translated version.

Things I learnt today –

  • Importance of Change – Matt did a quick session during the coaches meeting. He said they had a concept of “change it”. If some drill or strategy is not working, change it to suit the needs of your group. One of our coaches figured out his entire team loved bananas, and their stack wasn’t clearing fast enough, so he used bananas instead of clearing cones.
  • Kids don’t have to like any activity other than playing with their friends – Like I mentioned before, I have a trouble maker who doesn’t want to be part of any activity. I figured I was getting annoyed because I expected him to like the personal development activities and the stuff that we do in ultimate. I sat him down and explained to him that it’s perfectly okay that he doesn’t like doing any of the activities, but asked him not to come and ask to play in the tournament because it wasn’t fair to the rest of the team which actually put up with the activities because we expected them to do it as a team.  Everyone on the team gave him feedback about how his behaviour makes them feel. One kid said that they need to take advantage of the coaches who have traveled all the way, another said that he is wasting the team’s time because we are always searching for him to complete the head count before every activity.  He later spoke to his mentor who brought him to the camp, and promised her and the team that he will do all the activities and won’t waste the team’s time. Some of his teammates spent their water break bringing him up to speed in what we were practicing.
  • Getting your period is still a Taboo – I had an interesting conversation with Bhavya, from Auroville, Pondicherry about how most of the girls are not used to going about their normal day when they are on their period.  Most of girls here didn’t tell people that they got chum, instead they say ‘headache’ or are generally shy and unwilling to share. Talking about it to their guy coaches/teammates is an big NO.

Written by Sangeetha Manoharan

Sangeetha Manoharan

She’s at her happiest chasing plastic on a field.

This full-time psychology student is the youngest member of UPAI’s (Ultimate Players Association of India) Advisory Board and wants to pursue sports psychology.
Always thinking of ways to give back to the community, she makes time to coach, is part of Chennai Ultimate Frisbee’s School Outreach Program and also shares her thoughts on the India Ultimate blog.

Sangee plays as a primary handler on Chakraa, a mixed team, from Chennai, India. Favourite breakfast: Shredded zone defense.