Defender

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It turns out to be one of the worst days for Ron. First it was the stupid surprise chemistry test he had no clue about, and then he got the news that the first term of school test is preponed and when he was recovering from all these bad news he got the bummer. Sports teacher informed him this season he will play as a full back in the school football team, not in his usual position of the striker.

Ronojoy Sinha, student of 11st standard of a famous school of Kolkata loves his position as the key goal scorer in his school team. From 9th standard as he started to be the part of the soccer team he always played as the main striker. Mentored by his maternal uncle Surajit he loves putting the ball into the net, loves fooling and dodging the defenders and loves that helpless look at the face of the goal keeper when he scores.

“You will be playing as the right back, last season he didn’t even score a single goal and missed a dozens of chances, I should be putting you in bench but half of the boys are unfit. I need you there.” Sports teacher come coach of the Ron’s team barked.

“Let me at least play in the midfield, I never played as a defender, I will be useless there.” Angry and puzzled Ron replied.

Coach didn’t bother toreply rather he just shook his hand told him he is dismissed.

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In the dining table Ron was just playing with his food, he had no appetite. His Father Prasun was busy doing something in his laptop.

Ron’s father is quite strict; he never shared the enthusiasm of his son’s love and passion for Football. So when his brother in law Surajit was encouraging Ron to be a football player, he reluctantly agreed throwing a condition that it should not affect his studies. Surajit played for East Bengal, the famous club of Kolkata as a striker for more than 100 first division matches.

Ron’s father Prasun Sinha and his maternal uncle Surajit Ganguly shares a very awkward relation. They hardly speak to each other, always displeased to see the other’s presence and avoid bumping onto in any family ceremony. Ron hardly even saw them greeting each other during festivals or any other occasion. But there’s always an undercurrent between them, they don’t lose any chances to making twisted remarks or ridicule each other in a sublime way at any gathering.

Once Ron’s oldest aunt told him that uncle Surajit was dead against the marriage between his mom and dad, but as Sukriti wanted to marry only Prasun, other family members were fine with it, no one bothered about his opinion.

“What happened? You are not even touching your food. Anything wrong?” Ron almost felt he is waking up from sleep as he heard his father’s heavy voice.

Ron did not reply immediately. The father and son hardly discuss about his school or sports issues, as mostly they are handled by his mother Sukriti. But as his father continued to look at him with curiosity, he blurted his heart out.

“I’ve pushed to play as defender in my team, I hate that position, and I want to be a part of the action. I will hardly have a chance to even to score.” Ron was almost in tears while answering.

“So you think defenders are not part of the action, hmm?” As Prasun asked the question to his son, Ron couldn’t answer. He wasn’t sure what to answer.

“People come to the ground to watch spectacular goals or brilliant saves. A striker can be hero by scoring just one goal after missing chances after chances. A goal keeper can turn into match saver or a villain just by having a good or bad day. People remember the midfielders for their dazzling passes and assists for goals. But no one remembers how many times a defender clears the ball, snatches it from the opponents, blocking and blunting opponents advances.

They are remembered for foul, yellow and red cards, for hard tackling audiences blue eyed scorers. Thiago Silva,Mats Hummels, John Terry, Sergio Ramos, Diego Godin aren’t as celebrated as Neymar, Messi, Rooney or Ronaldo. But a true football lover knows their roles.”

Ron was looking at his father as Prasun was getting excited and emotional as he was carrying on with his speech.

Prasun continues, “At times people will remember defenders for pinning down their favorite strikers, intentional foul plays or disturbing the rhythm of the game by clearing the ball out of sidelines again and again. But son, we are the true heroes of the game, the true unsung heroes.” As he finished his last sentence his voice was shaking with passion and zeal.

Ron calmly asked his dad, “You were a football player weren’t you? Which position you used to play?”

“Central Defender, of Mohun Bagan.” Ron turned back at once and found his mom standing behind with a mischievous smile.

“Did you see him playing?” Ron threw his question to his mom as Sukriti was on her way back to kitchen again.

Sukriti’s voice floated in from the kitchen, “I was in 3rd year of my college, when I saw your dad playing against East Bengal, he did not let your uncle Surajit even pass through him.”

(The legendary rivalry between two of the oldest football of club of our country Mohun Bagan and East Bengal started way back in 1925 as for the first time the locked horns. Like all other delicacies in Kolkata like Hilsa and lobstar, rosogolla and misti doi, the people of this city also relishes the healthy competition of between these two clubs.

If Mohun Bagan supporters take pride of being the oldest Indian football club wining against British football teams, East Bengal supporters feel proud of wining the maximum match against them. The rivalry never gets old, even in the same family, few members might be the supporter of Mohun Bagan and few may be the East Bengal Enthusiast. The fun begins when ‘in-laws’ are fans of these two rivals. There are so many stories untold about this Kolkata Derby.)

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