The court of champions

The court of champions

This picture of the Mount Carmel College (MCC) basketball and athletics team was taken in 1968 after the inter-collegiate sports meet at Sree Kanteerava Stadium. MCC had won the team championship and my friends and I had made the college proud.

While Mary Philip had got the first place in discus throw and shot put, Seeta secured first place in long jump and second in the 100 metres run. Malati came first in high jump, Mary Fernandez won the first place in the 200 metres run and second in long jump and I came first in the 80 metres hurdle.

We had also won the 4x100 metres relay, where we had stiff competition from Jyoti Nivas College, which had the fastest sprinters of the time, Philo D’Souza and Irene Saldhana.

Most of the spectators supported Jyoti Nivas College and wanted us to lose as MCC had made it a habit to win for many years in a row. But our hard work and determination to uphold the tradition of winning paid off. Thanks to good baton exchanges and focus, we not only beat Jyoti Nivas College but also set a new meet record and got a standing ovation. The credit for our victory also goes to our coach KT Jagadeesh, who taught us the correct technique of baton exchange.

The same team was selected to represent Bangalore University at the inter-university sports meet at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, where we made it to the finals. Though we didn’t win at Jabalpur, I am happy that we got an opportunity to compete with athletes of different states. It was a memorable trip and the same team was again selected for the inter-state meet at Indore. But my father fell seriously ill at that time and I was apprehensive of being far away from home at such a critical phase. So I ended up missing the tournament.

MCC in that period was the winner of all the basketball tournaments and I am pleased to note that the tradition still continues. Life at the college was fun-filled. Since my parents were in Coorg, I stayed in the campus hostel where I made friends for life. Those in the sports teams practised every day at the MCC stadium down the road in Vasanthnagar or near the basketball court inside the college campus.

Coming to my education, I did my schooling in Good Shepherd’s Convent, Mysuru and completed my BA in 1969 and went on to do my diploma in Home Science at School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, Mangaluru. When I got married, my husband was initially posted at R Nagar in Mysuru district but was soon transferred to Bengaluru. I was a primary school teacher for a few years in Jayanagar and later at BET School, Rajarajeswarinagar.

Mary Philip is now in Canada, CM Seeta is in USA , Sr Genevieve, who was then the sports secretary, went on to become the principal of MCC and was in the same position for all the five years that my daughter studied there.

Malati Basappa became ‘Miss Bangalore’ and later settled in the UK. Mary Fernandez was a senior teacher and actively involved in sports at Cluny Convent, Malleswaram. She, Seetha and I keep in touch even now and meet whenever Seeta visits Bengaluru.

I visited MCC last month and was taken aback by the transformation there. Many new courses/subjects have been introduced, unlike our times when only arts and science was offered. Many new buildings have come up but Fatima Block, the hostel block and canteen still stand. And our beloved basketball court continues to produce many champs!

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