A football pitch with a cross towering in the backdrop amidst the scenic hills; both a delicate glimpse of hope in this despairing town, Lamka. What really is it that brings us all together?
In times when communities are divided in bitterness and disputation and chaos erupt for vague causes. When streets are overflowed with alcoholics, addicts, unemployed and hypocrites to people begging, getting high, stealing and selling. When people are lost – in deeper confusion, insecurities and depression without vision and hope, discouraged and living free contrasting to the Gospel. This small town is in desperate need of a light somewhere along the tunnel.
I believe that the uniquely unifying power of sports and the loyalty the community has to football in particular makes all of us stronger and brings the people closer together, creating hope where there was only despair. Throughout history, sport has always proved to bridge the gaps that divides us, it speaks to youth in a language they understand. People who otherwise have little in common have come together on neighbourhood pitches, as fans and as players, putting those differences aside for the sake of their teams.
Ninety minutes where people from every class and age gathered around to watch, cheering their hometown team to victory. Competitor against competitor to see who will win, and how it will happen. The one thing, besides religion, that has so strongly affected people of this region. Over time, our so called leaders have continued to leverage sports as a means to reopen diplomatic dialogue and make political campaigns by organising tournaments.
Like elsewhere in the Northeast of India locals in Lamka (Manipur) are crazy about the game, as well as the enthusiasm brought by variety of players from different villages and localities to the dusty football ground had enthralled them with their crafts for years and years now, helping us realize we share much more than what divaricate us.
With the lack of sports facilities owing to the boundless enormous prodigious talents this old little town has to offer, it’s about time we own a proper playing field. Someday, perhaps.