Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.

Nelson Mandela

Now more than ever, this famous quote by Mr. Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, seems relevant. History is witness to the fact that sport is an extraordinary tool for augmenting developmental initiatives. Particularly in times of adversity, sport is a unifying factor.

These are very very difficult times. We at enJogo pray that you are safe and healthy. COVID continues to be the most adverse situation we have ever faced as a country in recent times.

It has disrupted our daily lives and made us rethink what truly matters. It has also taught us that life is unpredictable and short. Probably too short to not be living your passion.

Life must go on. Despite all the challenges and all the pain, we must continue to build and rebuild. In the past fifteen months, our coaches and staff went beyond their call of duty to make sure the growth of our student-athletes is not compromised.

And we decided to share their work and its outcomes in the form of a regular publication.

Thus was born the idea of the Dugout, with the motto: Sport is Education.

The Dugout is Here to Fight the Good Fight!

A fortnightly editorial from the enJogo shelves to share our learnings from more than a decade of helping children play and excel. And to bring forth great stories of the triumphs and tribulations of various members of the enJogo and BBFS family – players, parents, coaches, and the like.

The Dugout shall be the medium through which we would share our experiences and know-how with the world. With the mission to enable every child to play sports.

We start the first edition by sharing how our coaches transformed training norms amid the raging pandemic. And how the student-athletes responded to it!

Fighting COVID: It Ain’t Over Until the Final Whistle

To tackle the current situation, we need to unite, dig deep, and emerge victorious collectively. All of us have been extensively affected by the Coronavirus, but we, the Human Race, are known for adaptability. For us, it is not over until the final whistle gets blown. Life moves on, and we find newer ways to respond to challenges.

Players at the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) Residential Academy, a sister concern of enJogo, are a testament to it.

From academics to improving their footballing abilities, the student-athletes never lacked in spirit. They went back home as COVID surged initially in 2020. But when they returned, they fared better than ever.

Football, like all other social activities, came to a halt when the pandemic hit us. Immediately, our team responded by curating new training norms and put hours into adapting to the “new normal”. Once the sessions resumed virtually, it was satisfying to see how our students adapted and started taking initiatives for themselves.

By the end of September, we laid the exhaustive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) helping students return to the Academy.

The process involved individual batch integration, adhering to the isolation and quarantine norms and monitoring of symptoms. In October, around 100 students returned and normalcy was restored at our COVID-safe campus.

The revamped operations focused on ensuring the implementation of the safest practices to curb the virus. A safe environment and a structured daily routine were in place with an emphasis on improving the child’s mental and physical well-being. The secured resumption of day-to-day activities helped us take part in competitions.

In the past year, the Residential Academy players achieved multiple accolades individually and as a unit.

We became the Runners Up at Heritage Cup, with Likha Tenye winning the “Best Midfielder” award.

2nd Runners Up at Goa Youth Tour 2021, where teams from Rajasthan, Delhi and Goa featured.

Winners at India Khelo Football in early March, where we outplayed all our opponents and secured multiple medals. Michael M. Rajee achieved the “Best Goalkeeper” award.

COVID may have disrupted our lives in an unprecedented way. However, through sheer resilience and hard work, our players and staff are adapting positively to the changing norms.

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