Ravina Vitthal Chavan | Age: 16
When I was studying in 6th grade, my daily routine was cleaning my home, playing with the girls nearby my home and waiting for mom and dad to return home from their work. In my community there are people who think girls can’t do any work outside of home, girls cannot be out of their homes after 7 pm, girls and boys interaction should be restricted, etc.
One day I was walking with some friends to school when I heard a conversation between some girls, they were talking about their experience of playing a new sport in the community called Rugby, which I hadn’t heard of before. I was curious to know more about the sport and I started a conversation with them.
“Hey what sport is this? How do you get involved in it?" Their reply was very interesting and after listening to them I was desperate to be involved in that program.
My friends told me that I should join this rugby program, I told them I wanted to but I needed to discuss it with my parents for their approval. The next day I prepared to ask my parents to allow me to attend the rugby program. I told my mom that there is a girls program in our community which is good and all my friends had joined and I also wanted to join the same program and I was begging for their permission. My dad immediately said ‘No, you’re not going anywhere, you have to stay at home and study and learn household work with your mom’. I was angry and sad.
The next day I discussed with my friends, and they told me that all the parents were saying the same thing, and that we would have to find another way to get approval from them. We then called our All Dreams coach to visit our home to talk to our parents for their approval.
A few days later, the coach and few of my friends arrived at my home to discuss about rugby and the education and development program in the community. The coach belonged to the same community we did, which helped convince my dad and he was satisfied with the idea of girls' empowerment.
My first day of rugby session was with around 30 other children, I was so nervous and excited for the opportunity to learn and grow. Coach looked at me and invited me to join in, all the children were playing happily with their teammates. In those 2 hours, I learned a lot while spending time with my friends enjoying and laughing.
After 6 months, we formed girls All Dreams rugby team; this was the first time we got an opportunity to participate in Bombay cup Sevens rugby tournament in 2018, and guess what, we won our first ever match against Ace foundation rugby club, that moment will stay in my heart forever. All the credit goes to my teammates and coaches for their efforts on and off-field.
All Dreams boys & girls rugby teams practice together, every Saturday. 3 golden rules have to be followed on the field, 1st Respect each other 2nd don’t use foul language and 3rd be resilient.
Rugby is a really good sport, very intense and team-oriented sports. People who don’t know the rugby game usually think it’s dangerous and an intense body contact sport but that is not true. Rugby is a very organized sport, it has rules just like any other organized sport. Coaches, referees, and other officials always educate us about the sport. My dream is to represent India’s national rugby team one day.
Akash Rathod | Age: 19
When I reached 7th grade, I saw my classmates and friends playing a different sport called Rugby. Watching the sport, I also wanted to join in as it seemed fun. I asked my friends to let me join and they taught me all about the sport. It took me a few days to understand the game and I used to play daily to understand it. After a few days, I joined my school sports team and learned a lot about the different rules in rugby. Then I joined All Dreams Foundation to learn even more, where the coach taught me new techniques and in every practice session, I learned something new. I managed to participate in many tournaments and I found the team to be very good. We even ended up going out of state to partake in tournaments.
For our first tournament, we went to Odisha. Our coach made sure we had everything we needed as it was our first time outside Maharashtra. Our travel took 3 whole days on a train. I was very happy as it was our first time outside. Sadly, we lost all our matches in the tournament. Our coach insisted that we shouldn't be sad about the loss but happy about the experience. and that we would train harder for the next match. In Mumbai, we started winning all the local tournaments and improved a lot after our last tournament. After that, however, my family was insisting that I should quit rugby but I didn’t want to quit. I started lying to my family in order to leave and play. My family started scolding me as they were worried about my health. I explained the situation to my coach and he came home to explain that I would be safe during training and convinced my parents.
During my exams, our coach gave us complete support and helped us with our studies. When the results came out, I ended up failing a few subjects. I started thinking of quitting rugby, but my coach explained that I should not be afraid of failing and to focus on the next time. He told me that it is okay that I failed and that next time I would be successful as long as I keep trying. After some time I started rugby training again and got to go to Punjab for a tournament. During this tournament, we ended up winning every match and came back home motivated to be successful. When I came back, we got money to continue our education as well and till today All Dreams is like a family, we help each other learn and grow.
Disclaimer- The original is in Hindi and can be found here.
Praveen Chauhan | Age: 20
When I used to study in school, I just used to either study, hang out with friends or play cricket. Until one day during my Physical training class, I saw some people practicing rugby. Some of my friends used to play rugby but I did not know how to play it. My friends showed me how to make the passes but I still couldn’t understand. My friends then told me about the foundation they used to play in, and about the practice sessions at oval maidan every Saturday from 4 pm to 7 pm.
I started going to practice sessions without telling my parents and I enjoyed them very much even if I didn’t have a proper kit. However, when my parents found out, they said I should focus on studying and there is no point in playing any sports. I still used to insist on practicing as I enjoyed it and would attend every session without their knowledge. Eventually, I played in school matches and our team came 3rd in the under 12 when I was just 10 years old. That’s when I realized my passion for the sport.
Once I realized this is what I wanted to, I took a lot of interest in the sport. When I took the medal home, my parents were also very proud. I used to play only touch rugby back then, but after playing many matches in Bombay Gymkhana, I even learned of contact rugby. Reaching into the finals of our matches also made me very happy. When I used to get wounded while playing, my parents would object to my playing but it had become a passion for me. Since my parents were unaware of the sport, they didn’t understand this was right for me. Our coach was also very helpful, he taught us about communication, group discussions, and coordination.
But, a lot of people didn’t understand this, and would demotivate me from going. I told them how would I become independent if I didn’t take risks and play. I played a lot of matches for under 12 and 14 after that. In 2015 we even won the under 17 Maharashtra tournament match in Mumbai. After that, we had the semi-finals in Shaahad but we lost. However, there were selections also going on during the match, and I was selected to play and called to Nagpur for the second round of selections. That’s when problems started escalating at home as my parents wouldn’t allow me to go. That’s when I told my coach about it, who came home and convinced my parents to let me go.
At the camp, the training sessions went on for 7 days and even though I really wanted to play, I didn’t like the food. My brother was very supportive and used to bring me food from home as well. The training sessions were very rigorous and happened thrice a day. I learned a lot and played for the Maharashtra team in Odissa and we won. I never had my own kit until then and always had to borrow someone else’s to play. We also went on to Punjab and played in the 3rd division and won the finals. Our coach supported everyone who had issues like mine with their families and we won due to that. Thank you so much to All Dreams Foundation for all your support!
Disclaimer- This has been adapted from the original which is in Hindi.
Krishna Suresh Chavan | Age: 19
I have only studied until 9th grade and Rugby has changed my life. I started playing rugby at the age of 8. All Dreams foundation gave me a home and taught me everything I know about the sport. Ravi Chauhan was my coach and I have learned a lot under him. I have not only developed as a rugby player but also as a human. He has helped me a lot.
My first rugby match was touch where I learned the fundamentals of the sport and slowly learned about real rugby with tackle. My first tackle rugby was In Odisha where despite losing, I got to learn a lot. After that tournament, I started working harder. Our All dreams team later participated in the Bombay Cup where state-level coach for Maharashtra noticed me and called me for state-level selection.
In this selection, I tried to give my best and ended up being selected for Maharashtra. The state-level team ended up being runner ups in the tournament. Our All Dreams foundation team worked really hard and our coach ended up deciding to promote us to the 3rd division. After being put in the 3rd division, we did not want to disappoint our coach and kept working hard. We ended up winning our next tournament and making our coach proud. All dreams has helped me achieve a lot and I want to keep making them proud.
Disclaimer- The original is in Hindi and can be found here.
Sidhesh Chavan | Age: 20
Earlier I knew nothing about Rugby but one day, when I was with my friend, I happened to witness a Rugby match. I saw a bunch of kids practicing but did not understand which sport they were playing. During their water break, I went to the coach and asked him a few questions. I asked him why the person with the strange-looking ball, was always passing the ball behind. The coach sat me down and explained the whole sport of Rugby to me. I then signed up and tried to play the sport myself. The next day I joined the rugby session and got to know that in one team there are 7 players. They played two styles of rugby, one-touch, and one contact.
When I asked my other friends to join me they refused as they did not know the sport. Back then, only a few players used to come for sessions, but now All Dreams has many players. For the first time in my life when I left Mumbai, it was to play a rugby match as the tournament was in Ludhiana. During the tournament, we used to practice every day. We lost our first 3rd Division match, but we did not lose our confidence and increased the amount of time we trained. We ended up reaching the Semi-Finals where we faced tough opposition. During the match, we made a few mistakes but immediately learned from them. The match was really difficult as the opposition was tackling harshly, which injured a couple of our players but we remained strong and ended up winning the match. We also managed to defeat the final opponents to win the tournament, but we also made a few mistakes that we learned from. Since then we have attended many other tournaments in Mumbai and I have developed a lot as an athlete. I am proud to be playing as a winger for All Dreams.
Disclaimer- The original is in Hindi and can be found here.