Faridabad is a typical industrial town of India. We have a diverse group of people belonging to various ethnicity and class. There are few places where all the community comes together like malls and parks. NIT Faridabad has a big but poorly maintained sports complex where people ( young and old) from all walks of life come together every morning to walk, jog or play soccer. I have been thoroughly enjoying my walks (when ever am in the country) and it gives me immense pleasure to see the morning energy among people. Over last few weeks I have observed a sudden surge in people coming to play soccer. In a single Football field that this complex has, you would be surprised to see close to 50 guys playing soccer as different units. On the other hand the big and famous cricket field ( Read Nahar Singh Stadium) is usually empty with little to no action.
While observing this rather bizzare development in this cricket crazy nation of ours, I happen to speak with the guy who has been selflessly serving the sport from over last two decades. Mr Pradeep Sharma or Peter as people fondly call him has is a happy man today. He attributes this sudden surge in passion for soccer to the ISL. According to Peter there has been at least two fold increase in children coming to play or train for soccer. Though the playground lacks the infrastructure and funds but their are people who are fueling this sport in the city with their passion for soccer. The get absolutely no help from the Government and all these clubs like Punjab soccer club are self funded. But Peter is optimistic that thanks to the big ticket sporting events like ISL and massive online marketing campaigns for these events, they might see some funds coming there way.
We gotta give this to the media both Television and Social media, It has amazing penetration power in the psyche of the people. Especially now that most young kids are glued to the television screens or smart phones accessing social media, Its hugely important that such positive events are held and massively publicized, It not only brings a positive impact on the youth. It gives them a better sense of direction and a feeling of well being. I was thoroughly moved to see the impact of internet marketing and ISL and I truly hope to see one of these youngsters playing for those European premier leagues.