Come January, and you’d mysteriously find the basketball ground refurbished and gentrified with new forward-looking basketball paraphernalia, something that you couldn’t get the sports department to do since months. Come January, and you’d find the most avant-garde gadgetry in the gym with goods and chattels that you had no idea even existed. Come January, and you’d find the worn-out and frayed tennis balls being replaced by newer, winsome looking ones.
Ask me what’s so special about January. The sports quota entrants of colleges across the University of Delhi (DU) would have a uniform answer: Tournament Season. January for a sports quota entrant is like the Regina George of the average American high school, it screams ‘high maintenance’ and ‘flashy’. In the first month of the year, these sports quota entrants are given optimum treatment, for they have to win tournaments and bring laurels to their college. Once the tournament season is over, these entrants go back to being the proletariat, being swindled and hoodwinked by the class of bourgeoisie, the college administration.
If I were to give you an unorthodox analogy, I would compare inter-college rivalry and contention with today’s National media channels vying for TRP ratings. Just like the prime-time news channels have abandoned all pretense of neutrality, becoming the drum beaters of a state narrative aimed at its laid out propaganda, even colleges try to win tournaments by hook or by crook. As a result, we have Motilal College taking in swimmers even when they don’t have a swimming pool, we have the Centre of Vocational Studies (CVS) taking in entrants for badminton even when they don’t have a proper badminton court, and we have Rajdhani College taking in recruits for gymnastics even when they don’t have a gym.
The question being flagged by thousands of sports quota candidates of DU is, why do these colleges accept these students when they can’t provide them with the requisite facilities? Arjun, a footballer from Kirori Mal College, asserted, “Our college is in a crisis when it comes to sports.” Speaking about the poor maintenance of the college football field, he commented, “When we go for practice, it feels like we’re in a beach, there’s so much sand and so little grass. The gym is functioning, but the equipments are in a pathetic condition.” Disclosing certain anomalies in the administration, he added, “The college is supposed to allocate a certain amount of fund for sports facilities, but it gets siphoned off before it can reach us.”Alleging a gross under a provision of facilitates, he observed, “While a team of footballers at least requires 10 to 14 footballs, we are provided with only two to three.”
Lizza Talukdar, a swimmer from Motilal Nehru College, has had a strenuous experience which costed her a significant amount of money. Due to the absence of a gym and a swimming pool in her college, she had to spend INR 5,000 every month to practice in private gyms and swimming pools. Jahnavi, a tennis player from Miranda House, through a phone call conversation with the DU Beat correspondent, elucidated on the sanitation facilities in her college. A lack of proper hygienics in a girls college can be an authentic torment, for the use of a better term. While her college has no showers or washroom in the gym, she admitted to sneaking into the hostel to take a bath after practice. Her teammate, Isha, complained about the lack of maintainance of the tennis court and said, “As our court is surrounded by foliage, the leaves fall on the ground. Because the surface gets packed with leaves, we slip and end up hurting ourselves.”
Vibhan, a handball player from Rajdhani College, revealed that one of the grave problems that he and his team members face in summers is the absence of a water cooler near their practice grounds. As an outcome, the team has to go to the college time and again to get water. This might sound like a juvenile argument to make. However, for a sportsperson who has to spend hours toiling on the field and battling with the scorching heat, even this anomaly is a grave deceit on part of the college. Eshita from CVS shed light on the negligent attitude of the college administration as she discerned, “While shuttles are decreed to be given to badminton players, we are often provided equipment of unsatisfactory quality.”
Come admission season, the sports quota aspirants would compete with each other to grab the coveted seats in the University of Delhi. Providing them anything less than the best facilities would be deceiving them, beguiling them into a trap. When they have to devote three years of their academic lives to play for the college then don’t they deserve a certain amount of accountability from the colleges?
Feature Image Credits: Praveen Negi
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak