Monday, December 8, 2014

Coming back to life


The stigma attached to those addicted to drugs haunts them through the recovery process and hamstrings their futures as well. The society continues to look at recovering users with suspicion with most mistakenly convinced that they cannot lead normal lives. To change this perception of people and to engage recovering users in sports and healthy living, a football club was formed aimed exclusively at them recently.
Initiated by Khituk Tongden with support from friends, the newly formed Sikkim Unicorn Football Club [SUFC] seeks to spread the message that “recovering users can do well in life”. The club was formed in July this year and has been participating in tournaments within and outside the state.
Speaking to NOW!, Mr Tongden, who is the SUFC Manager, said that the club seeks to convey the message that recovering users can recover well and do better with their lives. The club, he believes, will help demolish long held prejudices of the people when it comes to addiction and addicts.
“SUFC has been helping recovering users live a normal life by boosting their self-esteem through sports,” he shared. The club is self supported by its players.
At present, the SUFC has 14 recovering users registered with it as players. They have been supported by a few professional footballers. The players are in 21 to 30 years age group.
SUFC practices at Paljor Stadium every evening and plays friendly matches with Gangtok-based clubs and teams every week. The club played its first tournament outside the state in Darjeeling in July this year and managed to reach the semi-final round. SUFC also reached the quarter-final round in a tournament in Kurseong and was the runners-up team in another tournament at Lebong in Darjeeling. More recently, SUFC secured the runners-up position at a tournament in Salghari, Siliguri last month.  SUFC is presently sweating hard to play in the C Division Sikkim-League in 2015.
Mr Tongden mentions that the club has also been getting a lot of support from senior footballers and professional clubs of the state. He informed that the SUFC has requested different rehab centres to send good footballers from their centres to join the club.
One of the players expressed his happiness on getting a chance to play football once again. “I’m very happy to play since it also helps us to live a normal life once again,” he shares. He also stated that loneliness leads to a lot of negative thoughts, so a team sport like football helps the players to steer clear of any negativity.

Other players also expressed their satisfaction and happiness on getting the chance to play as a team. They also added that everyone has been supporting the club and each other to live a healthy life.

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