YourStory.com conducted their Startup Sports League event in Bangalore last month. Startups from all across India were going to join in, and even though we were initially apprehensive, we sent out a call for participation. We got many enthusiastic responses and team Indix was ready to go!
We named our team “Marina Indixers” as we wanted to take the proud identity of Chennai and Marina beach with us. We played in two events – soccer and throwball. On March 10th, Friday, we embarked on our journey to Bangalore in high spirits and excited to showcase our talents. After checking into our hotel, we relaxed for a while, strategized our game plan, and regrouped for the event which was to begin at 4pm.
The Marina Indixers were slotted to play against Team Hike Messenger in the first soccer match. The team was all pumped up and we did multiple huddles and strategy sessions to deliver our best during the game. The Indix football team had no formally trained soccer player except for Bala R and we were skeptical about our performance as we hadn’t trained or practiced at all. However, the team rose up to the occasion, delivered their magical best and came out with flying colors.
We won 5-0 and were celebrating our victory. While the team took the field with a lot of uncertainty as to how they would face the opponents, as they got into the game, they proved that they were not novice minnows but a bunch of talented folks who could make an impact even without any formal training. They had amazing coordination while passing the ball and were very quick in turning the opportunities into goals. Bala, the lone formally trained soccer player led from the front and did a great job in keeping the spirit of the team high throughout the game.
After the first goal was scored five minutes into the game, scoring goals became second nature to this power packed team and it was raining goals from that point on. During halftime, we had a quick power-packed huddle strategizing the rest of the game and that paid off rich dividends. We closed 2-0 before halftime and scored three more goals in the second half. It was a great game that helped us to showcase our talents and register our first win in the tournament.
Buoyed by the first success, we were hungry for more and eagerly awaiting our next game. We had a good two hour break between the first game and the second. We had to win the second game to move into the next stage of the tournament. This time, we were to play the company Exotel. The game commenced at 7pm.
We went into the game with lots of optimism along with the lessons learnt from the first game. Team Exotel were a bunch of professionally trained soccer players who were very serious about their game. Right from their professional gear and accessories, they proved they were tough contenders. However, the Marina Indixers had nothing to lose as we had loads of optimism and raw talent that can do wonders.
Exotel had amazing coordination, proper covers and ensured that they had the maximum ball possession during the game. They were very swift in making the right passes. They were also amazing kickers of the ball and Prasanna had to face the fury of their kicks on several occasions. While we were doing our best to score goals, Exotel managed to send the ball past our goal post thereby scoring the first goal of the game. Given that Marina Indixers were a self-taught and budding football team, our physical weakness and tiredness took a toll on our performance.
Exotel displayed their prowess and kept on scoring goals. We tried to bounce back and fought hard until the last minute. However, as they say, every good thing has to come to an end, and we conceded to very worthy opponents.
The Marina Indixers also participated in the throwball event. We played our first game against Team Yourstory and comfortably defeated them despite very little practice. It was a mixed doubles event so we had women on the team as well – Manisha, Shreya, and Sri Devi – in addition to Anirudh, Mayank, Prasanna and Bala R.
Our next test was against a well-trained Team Merican. Indix started on a solid note, however, as we progressed into the game, we found Merican to be very strong in their neatly timed aggressive throws and perfect coordination. Also, we lost some points due to some inadvertent fouls thereby making it easier for them to win against us. Unfortunately, that meant we did not qualify for the next round.
While a victory would have tasted sweeter than being on the other side in both our games, there were several lessons that are highly valuable that we learnt as a team.
While it’s natural for anyone with very little/ no amount of preparation to consider themselves underdogs, we learnt the key lesson of never starting off with a defeated mindset, and this indeed paid off by leaps and bounds.
The team believed in themselves. They delivered their best and we saw that a positive frame of mind radiates positive energy to the entire ecosystem, resulting in desired outcomes.
The power of team huddles and perfect coordination on the field were achieved because the team played as a TEAM and not in silos. This had tremendous impact on the overall outcome.
While it’s great to win, losing is not so bad. After all, it gives you the opportunity to win many coveted learnings like the ones mentioned above.
Overall, it was a very good learning experience for the Marina Indixers at the Startup Sports league and I’m sure this memory would be etched in our hearts for a long time. We are already looking forward to the next event, YourStory!