One step at a time. That’s how it’s done. That’s what I’ve been hearing all my life. Nobody told me what to do when you are stuck at one place. What are you supposed to do when you don’t know where to put the next step? I went to school for 15 years of my life. Never did anyone, and I mean not even a single person, talked about this. I still sometimes wonder why they don’t teach this stuff. I guess they themselves don’t know. Maybe they are stuck too.
But fortunately, life is a good teacher. It teaches you everything, using practical examples. Few of those still hurt. Physically and emotionally. But it goes on. Lessons are learnt. And among those lessons, I discovered something. Something Fun. Exciting. Scary. Risky. Worth it. Along my journey, I’m learning how to keep moving. Even after I’m stuck at the same place. Or with the same thing. A friend of mine told me, if you don’t get what you really want, think of it as something that happened to you which is good for you. How? Because there’s something better waiting to happen to you.
I asked him, what if I really want it and not the 2.0 version that’s in store for me?
Trust me, you don’t really want it. You deserve better. That’s what he replied.
Sometimes people do make sense. Not practically. But in another dimension of this mystical world. It’s hard to understand them but when you experience what they said to you a while ago, it all makes sense in a perfecto way. Same happened with me. I listened to my dear mate, and it was worth it.
We all deserve better. But we still keep on chasing things we think are best for us. If you’ve put your side of effort, and you still get nowhere, just let it go. This is not giving up. This is striving for better. As simple as that. Let it go. It might come back to you later, but the chances are that the 2.0 version is already in store for you. And when you realize it, in that exact moment, the smile on your face will say it all. You’ll be glad. And happy. Truly happy.
Different people call this by different names. Moving on. Progress. Advancement. Take off. Blah blah blah.
One of the best initiative taken ever in the history of computer science education. Why is that?
Because anybody and everybody can learn to code. It’s that simple! Ask any “coder” why computer science (I know this term is so boring!) is good, and he’ll (or one of the few she’s will) give you one of the following reasons: without computer science (promise I won’t use this again) not much works, or we have the best jobs, or you creatively solve problems, or creative technology is lucrative. I just have one thing to say about that. MAKING. REALLY. COOL. THINGS.
The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of future. We are so much dependent on technology, that if you know how to write code, you can actually do magical things involving just your surroundings. You’re gonna look like you have magic powers compared to everybody else. So why not take the first step?
We all know, intellectually, that living in the moment is the best thing we can do to maximize our living experience. What we also know is that it’s really hard to do that without spending too much time on planning for our future and looking back and regretting at our past from time to time. This seems to be the part of human experience; no matter how great the things are, it’s never enough. We often find ourselves imagining every possible scenario or organizing our future which is yet to happen. Either that, or we are enjoying or regretting over the past, the time which once was.
We always want more. Even if we are having a great time now, let’s say maybe a dinner with our loved ones, or a great concert, or even an amazing road trip, we can’t stop ourselves from planning for the future and looking forward, as if now is not enough, and always suggesting let’s do this again. We always want more.
For some people, past is the escape from the present. We, as a human being, are always regretting what we did and most of the times spend too much time on what had already happened. Is there anything we can do now to change it? The simple answer is no. Whenever we are more concerned with what has already happened than what is happening, the present moment loses its beauty, its power, its significance.
But there’s one occasion in our lives when we don’t this. This time travel from past to future just doesn’t happen. We all do it everyday. Drive.
When we drive, we avoid both unrealistic worlds. We focus on what’s happening around us. We have to keep our eyes on the road and be careful of the things on either side of the car. We know if we daydream too much, staring into the horizon, or keep looking back in the rear view, appreciating the beautiful scenery that just passed, we are going to crash.
It’s perfectly fine to occasionally glance on the roads behind us, just like it’s ideal to see what’s ahead of us from time to time when we are driving, but what we benefit the most from is the open road that’s directly in front of us. Right now. Right here. We don’t need more than this as it happens.
Two things. Two simple things that changed the whole day for me.
There are some things that deeply affect you and force you to think what are you even doing . Then there are other things that make you realize what you should focus on rather than what you have been doing till now. Now, combine both these and feel the outcome. Some powerful stuff, right?
That’s what my Christmas eve was about.
First significant thing about the day was the news of Clay York, a fellow student. He died. Yes, just like that, in his early twenties. That’s it. Game over for that guy. I was surprised and shocked when I first read that. Though I didn’t know him that well, and I’ve only been with him more than a couple of times, we had our moments. That alone tells how he affected everyone around him and what kind of person he was. I still remember both of us cheering together for our Basketball team. But what can you do now, life goes on.
Trust me, life is short. I don;t know how he dies, but he’s gone. He left me thinking. What am I doing by just sleeping and eating everyday and wasting the short period of time I have? That was really an eye-opener. Maybe tomorrow is THE day. Who knows? Everything will just remain in the wishlists. I don’t know about you all but for me, it’s too depressing and sad.
As I was overcoming my shock, my friend and I realized it’s Christmas eve and we are here with nothing to do at all. Best Christmas ever! Nevertheless, I called up a friend and went to meet him. Again, trust me, you never know what’s gonna happen to you if you take an initiative. Forrest Gump’s momma was right, life is full of surprises! We ended up playing guitar, singing songs, looking at some awesome photographs and singing “Happy Birthday” in Vietnamese for his girlfriend. I didn’t expect any of this to happen but it was the best hour of my Christmas eve. Yeah, miracles do happen on Christmas. To add a cherry on top, my friend helped me to realize what to focus on rather than just sitting around waiting for the day. Also, he gave us a Christmas tree. yeah I know I have awesome friends!
It was a pretty chilly day in the month of March. The rain was pouring down at a steady pace, making the weather even colder. It was a perfect day to sit inside and enjoy a cup of coffee while watching your favorite show but not for my roommate and me. We were already running around the intramural fields warming up for our game later that night which was cancelled later due to “bad weather conditions”. It had never actually happened before, but whatever. Although it was freezing, we still practiced. While I was taking some practice shots at the goal, trying to find a way to beat my friend standing in the middle of the goal post, a girl drove past by us on the adjacent street shouting at the top of her lungs, “SOCCER SUCKS”. Now I didn’t have any problem with that, but I did want to tell her, “It’s not soccer girl, its football.”
I was raised in a land where cricket is a religion (no, it is not like Baseball!), and cricket players who played for the national team are treated like Gods. People really pray to the other 3 million Gods in India for them to win every game they play. So in this cricket-frenzy nation, I have no idea when football started to grow in my life. I have tried most sports and the reason I started loving football at an early age is because it is beautiful. All we need to play football is a ball and some imagination, that’s it. No pads, no equipment, no specialized fields, nothing – not even shoes! It’s the purest of all sports. We can play it anywhere, anytime with anything around. It is a game that can spontaneously erupt based on the desire to play, and that is the reason I started loving it at an early age. Even though India has never qualified for the FIFA world cup and will never be able to do it in next 50 years, it still became an important part of my life.
After moving to America to pursue my higher studies, I came across the American Football, and as a sports enthusiast, I liked the game. It took my uncle a lot of effort to make me understand every small detail of the game, but it was all worth it. However, there was one thing that really surprised me. Americans don’t like football (or soccer). I tried to find the reason behind it, and got some responses, but most of them made no sense to me! Then I realized that they didn’t hate football, they were just ignorant.
Some of the arguments that I was included in were:
Soccer is for little sissy boys
That’s the argument that I heard most from the people I talked to. Soccer players dive and act like they are hurt. They’re not real men. All I could do at this response was laugh! Trust me; anyone who has ever played soccer knows soccer players don’t prance around like divas, shying away from the physical contact. The amount of pulling, elbowing, physical and verbal abuse is a lot. Moreover, it’s not a sport that’s about physical contact. Since when did sports start to be all about showing physical strength? The amounts of physical injuries I’ve personally had while playing soccer are too many to keep track of. It’s no pads, no protection. All-out war. That’s soccer’s answer. You wear protection.
Soccer is boring
When a game ends with a score of 0-0, you can understand why someone would call it boring. But putting a point on the scoreboard in soccer is much harder to come by. Players will get hacked, fouled, shoved, and then they still have to have their wits about them enough to shoot and score. When a goal is scored, it’s a cause for a celebration. But the reason doesn’t just lie in how uncommon scoring might be. It’s all about patiently trying to break the opponent’s defense while preventing them from scoring. The breakthrough may happen at any moment in the 90 minutes that a game is played. Imagine a loose ball is bouncing around in your team’s penalty area, and your heart is pounding and your eyes are wide with anticipation. There’s a small respite as relief sets in when you see the ball getting cleared. And that same anticipation grips you when your team has a good scoring opportunity for themselves. It’s such a high level of tension that when they do score, the emotional outburst is greater that it is for any other sport.
Not to offend anybody, but I personally think American football is just a commercialized sport which includes 5% action and 95% standing around waiting for the commercials to end. I agree it takes a lot of creativity for the passes to be completed, it is a very tactical game, there’s a lot of scoring going on around the whole game, and it takes a lot of physical strength to play the game at its best, but in my opinion, it can never match the majesty of Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick, the dazzling dribble of Ryan Giggs, the perfection of a David Beckham pass, or the proof, in Lionel Messi, that a small man can fly with the angels. To make an opponent fall takes brute force; to outwit him with your feet requires genius. Plus, it’s all the more pleasurable if you can see his face.
The sense of nationalism that Soccer creates cannot be matched. The World Cup is an event that any country has the opportunity to play in, and it brings various cultures and peoples from around the world together. First and foremost, soccer is the most popular sport around the world. It’s a celebration of enjoying the same sport no matter what country a person hails from. Moreover, it’s the only sport where the best team can lose. In this game, no team is more powerful than the other. Best example would be Ghana beating USA in the World Cup twice. This is the game where poor countries can prove their point and leave an impression on the world. And to do that, it definitely takes really good skills.
Bouncing a ball with your hands is natural. Catching a ball with your hands is natural. Try it with your chest, knee or foot. Not easy! That’s because controlling a ball with the feet is much more challenging as it is not a natural body movement. Therefore, it takes a lot of patience to be able to do even some of the simpler things in soccer, like passing or shooting properly. When you see a pro-football player making an amazing catch, it’s true it would be difficult to replicate, but it’s possible. However, trying to replicate some of the quick-footed juggles that pro-soccer players do would be downright impossible, even for some seasoned soccer players. In addition to that, every man on the pitch while playing soccer has to be in his best physical condition. They go for 90 minutes or longer, running the entire time without any breaks. American football is 60 minutes. Theoretically, the players only play half the time since offenses and defenses change out. Furthermore, a play in football lasts around 5-10 seconds. Once it’s over, players get to rest for around 30 seconds. However, by the fourth quarter of a football game, often times you can see fatigue in the players. While they are also tired in soccer matches, the players still play, and with just 3 substitutions allowed in the whole game, the best players are strong until the very end. Just to sum this up, Matt Damon said in one his movie, “Any moron with a pack of matches can start a fire. Raining down sulfur takes a huge level of endurance. Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in…next to soccer.”
When the players put so much effort to take their game to the next level, how can the fans be behind? The Super Bowl may have an astonishing figure of 100 million viewers in the last game, but the UEFA Champions League Final’s viewership crossed the 500 million mark in 2012 that was played in Munich. American football games are fun to attend. I personally went to every home game this season. People are pretty obsessed with their teams, and it shows. But compared to soccer, football atmospheres are nothing. I’m not saying this. It shows even when you see those games being played. The thing soccer fans do differently is singing their team’s chants. It creates an intimate moment between the fans as they come together as a single, strong voice to cheer their team on to victory. Not only chants, soccer fans are the most creative fans around the world. Their creativity can be seen in the way they all come together to represent their team in the stadiums. And don’t forget about the soccer hooligans. Cannons, smoke flares, drums and outrageous enthusiasm. This is how every international and league soccer game is played.
When talking about fans, how can one not talk about the number of female fans that soccer has? Well, there’s a solid reason for that. Soccer has the most attractive athletes! If a questionnaire was handed to every woman in the world which asked who the sexiest male athlete is, chances are that David Beckham of England and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo would dominate the list. The thing about soccer is, it doesn’t drastically change a person’s appearance other than allowing the person to be in his top cardiovascular condition. So unlike football, you don’t have to put on weight or be super tall. Soccer simply has regular guys and girls at their peak of physical conditioning.
That’s the reason why soccer is the most popular sport in every country. Seeing Europeans, Africans, Asians and Americans play against each other makes one think that, despite of the differences, they are all the same. They all have the same understanding of the game that no amount of economic progress, technological advancement or population size can correlate to the probability of being crowned champions. That’s the beauty of soccer. Players of different backgrounds and cultures express themselves in one language on the field, the language of the beautiful game.