A part of him keeps harking back to the initial days when opposition to his playing cricket steeled the resolve to excel. So, when Kapil Dev got to address an impressionable audience, the angst resurfaced. “In our days, playing cricket or for that matter any discipline was frowned upon. Every parent wanted his child to excel as a doctor or engineer,” he said.
Economic prosperity may have opened up multiple avenues but advancement has also stoked parental aspirations. Shifting his gaze towards a group, seated by the poolside at the Classic Golf Resort, Kapil remarked: “Don't look into your children's eyes and make them live your dreams. Instead, let them live theirs'.” The words had an impact as a few parents shifted uneasily in the chairs.
The point made, Kapil lit the lamp that symbolised the start of the inaugural Albatross International Junior Golf Championship (in association with HT), but after the brief ceremony, the children were on his radar. Known to play it hard, Kapil made some strong but inspirational utterances. “If you want to be the best, you need to dream passionately. Without it, you won't get far.” If the man's presence wasn't inspiration enough, the words got the budding golfers fired up. Soon, they were pledging to compete in the “spirit of the game”, even as a military band drummed out patriotic tunes.
Ringing in their ears were Kapil's words: “Golf is better than cricket. The game has everything to make you a better person. You don't need anyone else, as you are your own referee. If you cheat, you won't go ahead in life.”
Competition commences today and on view will be a field of 141, which will vie for top honours in five age categories. The presence of 28 golfers from the US, Canada, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates lends the three-day event a distinct foreign flavour.