Nurturing future women basketball stars
An inspiring story of Allwyn D’souza (Khyaal community member) - National Sports Day
“I was the oldest of 3 children and actively participated in various sports. I used to play basketball and football among other games. I started working as soon as I completed my SSC. I began my career as a Stewart at Oberoi hotel and then worked as a foreman on the ship at Bombay Port Trust from 1982. I also founded my catering business in 1997 and took a VRS in 2014 from Bombay Port Trust.
My journey as a basketball coach began in the year 2000. I still remember the day when I went to drop my daughter at her school and saw a few children playing basketball. I was thrilled to watch them play and knew that I could help them become better with training. I never played basketball at a professional level but my students have qualified for the Indian Women’s Basketball Camp. More than 15 national-level players and around 70 district-level players have found success under my guidance.
I have also been the coach for Maharashtra State Women's Basketball team. Plus, St. Anthony’s school at Chembur is one of the top schools in Maharashtra as far as basketball is concerned. Just before COVID-19, we were Inter-school Maharashtra state champions. I was also a coach at Ruia junior college for 3 years and won Maharashtra state-level gold medal for 2 years in a row. I was also fortunate to coach the Maharashtra state basketball team at the All India Special Olympics in Delhi in the year 2006 and our team won the bronze medal.
Being a basketball coach for 22 years wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family especially my wife and the school authorities. Surely, basketball is my first love and I am ready for it anytime, anywhere. Fortunately, I never faced many challenges in my journey as a coach even though I was multi-tasking in various roles. Taking lead, organizing things and getting along well with people have always been my strong points. My only goal for my basketball children has been for them to excel both on and off the court. I strongly believe that winning is one thing but the journey is more important.
At the age of 65, I am still a basketball coach and am dedicated to my responsibilities. I commute from Ulwe to Chembur to train and guide my basketball children. The St. Anthony’s school’s basketball court is my home and being on the court feels natural, comforting and makes me happy. Lastly, I would want to say that; you don’t have to be a very good player to be a very good coach; your commitment, attitude and the ability to get the best out of somebody is all that counts.” - Allwyn D’souza (Khyaal community member)