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Impressions by Thomas Winkler

Before I came to India I had never ever heard of ‘Kabaddi’. When I found out about it, I was puzzled: an ancient sport that was nearly forgotten had become a big TV event. A sport that is as Indian as Masala and the Taj Mahal is trying to become international. But primarily I was surprised what a simple game it was. Playing catch from your childhood combined with wrestling. A child’s game played by strongmen who have to be as brainy as they are brawny.

So I learned to love the sport because of its technique and tactics, because of the complexity in simplicity, because it’s fast and furious and fun to watch.

But first and foremost it reminded me what sports are all about, but gets too often lost in the face of all the hype and business and media overkill that today’s professional sports have become. It reminded me that nearly every professional sport used to be a child’s play, that the fascination we feel watching world-class sports is grounded not the least in the fact that we are watching people who are living a dream. The dream to prolong childhood for forever. A dream we dreamed when we were children but only came true for a few.

 

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