From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.35 :: NO.09 :: Mar. 01, 2012
T.T. Joseph at the volleyball academy he has built with his savings.
In October 2011, when T. T. Joseph was told by the authorities of a private hospital in Kozhikode that he would have to pay Rs. 1.5 lakh to undergo a heart surgery, he didn't know what to do. How could he raise such a big amount at such a short notice?
Not that Joseph, who has been working as SAI's volleyball coach for 32 years, had not saved any money. He had put all his savings into a volleyball academy and indoor stadium in his village, Pulikkayam, an-hour-and-a-half's drive from Kozhikode.
So far Joseph has spent Rs. 25 lakh from his pocket for his dream project, which will be inaugurated by the Kerala Sports Minister K. B. Ganesh Kumar on February 25.
His is indeed a remarkable tale. A tale of one's passion for sport. A tale of sacrifice and selflessness.
“Yes, I know people would find it strange that I am using up all my savings for something that would not give me any financial return, but I don't have any regrets,” says Joseph. “I had a tough time even convincing my wife, as the land belongs to her; the cost of the land alone is Rs. 50 lakh, you know. Though she is not happy with my decision, she supports me now as she probably understands my passion.”
He says he wanted to build the indoor stadium and the academy himself because nobody else was willing to. “Having been a volleyball player before joining SAI, I know how difficult it is for players to find an indoor court in Kerala to practice,” he says. “Our players could train here even during the rainy season, which is six months long in Kerala.”
He is confident that he could produce more players from the area. “Several outstanding volleyball players have come from this place, like Sally Joseph,” he says. “That tradition is continued by today's young players like Dona George, Aleena Shaji and Sandra.”
Joseph plans to train 24 players in a batch at the academy. “I am posted in Wayanad now; if I could get a posting somewhere near my home, I would have been able to devote more time to the academy,” he says.
To cut back to Joseph's heart surgery: SAI stepped in, in time and he didn't have to worry about the money at all. And he has made a speedy recovery.
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