Written By: Joshua Immanuel
Edited By: Divyajyot Joshi
The members of the Jaipur Book Lovers Club decided to meet for a discussion on sports books at Cafe Mi Casa Su Casa on 25 September 2016. The days that led to the meetup involved some campaigning on social media and Whatsapp. Witty observations from Mr. Samuel L Clemens such as ‘Golf is a good walk spoiled’ were parading the discussions on Whatsapp and what not. We are a bunch of book lovers, you see.
I, for one, hadn’t read any sports books. So when someone asked me for book suggestions, I copped out with a diplomatic I’d-rather-play-the-sport-than-read-a-book-on-it.
The day of the meetup was pleasantly sunny and deceptively hot, and we decided to sit outside the cafe at a huge table. The event started at 11:00AM. Every member gave a little introduction and spoke about books they’d read on sports or about specific athletes. The discussion began quite predictably with the virtues of sport and the grit and discipline it harbors in athletes and sports people. There were brief moments of enjoyable digressions during the ongoing discussions, and they in effect multiplied the intensity of our talks. Our club members discussed many interesting topics. From Women in sports and the role sports women had in shaping feminism to Muhammad Ali and the political stand he took during the Vietnam war. From the role of cricket in the shaping of the socioeconomic climate in West Indies to the plane crash in 1958 that claimed the lives of several Manchester United players and the efforts that went into rebuilding the club. Some of our members shared a few statistical points from the Canadian Ice Hockey team that revealed some interesting insights.
The true highlight of the meetup was Coach Amit Asawa from the Rajasthan Cricket Association. He had agreed to be a part of the meetup and was graciously willing to share his ideas and ideals with our club members. He gave startling insights about his techniques in coaching and the role of spirituality in sport. There were questions on the virtue of the art of playing, over playing to win and also a question on dealing with stress at the moment of action.
Mr. Asawa declined to speak on politics, but answered every other question with patience and his answers showed the discipline of his spirit. Mr. Amit Asawa explained that the role of a coach, above everything else, is to understand the player. He cited examples of players who had a brash guilelessness about themselves but were high performers on the field. He also stressed on the importance of the process rather than the prize.
Over all it was a wholesome discussion because the meetup covered a wide range of sports from ultra marathon to swimming, from cricket to boxing, from soccer to mountaineering, from bull fighting to women weight lifters. Some members also spoke about their achievements in sports. Occasionally, members delved into fiction for the spirit of sportsmanship. The Old Man and the Sea, Men without Women were also mentioned at the meetup. But it was mostly a discussion on sports books. We departed from the meetup after the customary photograph session.
Here is a list of books that were discussed in the meetup.
1. Ultramarathon – Dean Karnazes
2. Sweet Fighting man – Melanie Lloyd
3. The Turquoise Mountain – Brian Blessed
4. Guts and Glory – The Bombay Cricket Story – Sandeep Bamzai
5. The Indian Masters – Bill Ricquier
6. Shadows Across the Playing Field – Shaharyar Mohammed Khan, Shashi Tharoor
7. The Honest Season – Kota Neelima
8. Mohammed Ali – His Life and Times – Thomas Hauser
10. El Diego – Daniel Arcucci, Diego Maradona
11. 127 hours – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
13. The Outliers – Chapter 1 ( The Matthew effect) -Malcolm Gladwell
15. MSD: The man the Leader – Biswadeep Ghosh
16. The Race of my Life- Milka Singh
17. Beyond a Boundary – CLR James
18. The Great Tamasha – James Astil
20. Rahul Dravid – Timeless Steel
21. Biography of Rahul Dravid – V Jaishankar
22. No Limits – Michael Phelps
23. The Fix – Deccan Hill
Joshua is a reader with an interest in short stories and poetry. His favorite writer is Salinger.