The atmosphere is charged...a mob encircle a round plot of land...a hundred pairs of eyes to witness glory made or lost...a hundred minds willing a few others on...a hundred tongues wagging eloquently in anticipation of more work known as bragging....welcome to football at IIT Madras, where the beautiful game has as much passion involved as you can find elsewhere.
Its not about the players, its not about the score...its just about the crowd. Wins, trophies and points are secondary in the football circuit of the "insti". The game is played for the masses, for those who come to cheer for their hostels. This prioritisation is repaid by the patrons as they "put enthu max", so to speak into each game that has anything to do with their hostels.
Almost all of football in the insti are inter hostel events. The passion and grittiness of inter hostel rivalry lace each contest.As a "veteran" of seven inter hostel matches, [:P] I'm slowly but surely coming to grips with the dynamics of football at IIT Madras. Matches are usually held at hostel quadrangles or at the Sangam ground. The ground would be surrounded by a whole lot of people, the "cheering squad", the inmates of competing hostels. The "cheering squad" don't cheer as much as mentally disintegrate the opposition, hurling out chants designed to crack the toughest of minds. Its on the quadi that I learned the basics of sledging, the art of cheering for your team by abusing the opposition. As cries of "Godav(or any other hostel) ki maa ka..." render the air, even the most dormant of freshies can't help but be enthused by the hostel spirit that charges the atmosphere.
Football is one of the more "refined and pleasant" ways of getting to know your seniors and bonding with them. Each hostel will have one or more "stud" football players, the unanimously acclaimed best of the hostel. Playing three or four times a week, the seniors get to have a good luck at the budding talents in the new batch, and see who all would be fit to don the hostel jersey for a variety of sporting events.
What makes football a joy to play and watch in this intensively competitive academic setting is the passion and love the people have for the game. Quizzes may come and go but nobody misses a game if they can help it. That is the love of the game a peculiar hostel spirit has inculcated in every hostel mob.