For sports buff Uthappa, there was always an inclination towards spending more time on the playground rather than in math class. At the tender age of just 6, he started off playing badminton, thinking that that was his sport – until he found hockey. It’s no surprise that this young boy hailing from Coorg, had a natural affinity for hockey; After all, apart from sprawling, world-famous coffee plantations, hockey just happens to be the main sport of Coorg.
The Jack of All Sports but The Master of Hockey
Uthappa has represented the state in basketball and football but wanted to give hockey ‘a shot’ after watching his brother play the game. At first, he found hockey to be quite a challenging and tough sport, but Uthappa thrust forward.
Uthappa’s biggest challenge was probably leaving his home and parents back in Coorg at just 14 to join an all-boys hostel at St. Joseph’s Indian High School in Bangalore, only to cry himself to sleep every night for the first 3 months. Leaving home sweet home for young Uthappa was quite disheartening especially since he had to rough it out alone in the big city after being pampered like a prince back home. To add to that, he could visit home only twice or thrice a year which made it all the more tough on Uthappa but he says that this was the time that would change his life forever.
I don’t remember myself looking up to a sportsperson or any other individual back then, besides my brother.”
Hacking His Path to His Dreams – With A Hockey Puck
Nothing like a little inspiration from within the family circle itself and that’s exactly where Uthappa’s inspiration poured in from. His brother was the sole reason he wanted to get into sports. Today, after leading his team, the ‘Kalinga Lacers’ to victory at the Hockey India League 2017, Uthappa says that his brother is his biggest fan and critic. He looks forward to his analysis post a game or a tournament and loves his honest, accurate and direct critique.
My family has always supported me right from the beginning. I am what I am today because of them.”
We love nothing more than for a sports celeb like our very own Uthappa to pay credit for his success to his supportive family who always did the best they could to help Uthappa cross the finish line. They didn’t mind at all that Uthappa wanted to pursue hockey as a career rather than be the quintessential “doctor” or “engineer” and played a major role in his success by allowing him to continue playing sports.
Ploughing Seeds of Success; Setting an Example for The Rest
After five years of wearing his state team jersey, Uthappa still feels the same passion, pride, and honor every time he’s on the field. The thrill of playing hockey hasn’t died down for the hockey champion. He’s represented the country in major tournaments including the Olympics and World Cup – things he would only dream about. Facing bumps on the road to his success was inevitable – bad form, injuries, etc., but that didn’t stop this bold athlete from pursuing his dreams. Today, Uthappa represents the Indian hockey team in all events.
The day you start doubting your own ability is the day you start moving away from your dreams.”
Advice from the pro to other budding sports prodigies – just like a young Uthappa once was. Uthappa never let his success get to his head nor did he let failure get to his heart. You’ve got to believe in your dream if you’re going to pursue it. Have the right attitude towards success and failure to keep yourself grounded, hard times are what will decide your future and learn to accept failure. These are some of the bold and invaluable words of advice from the guy who loves “playing the field” – (the hockey field we mean!)