From Being a Passive Player to Founding SportsUnite
Rochelle Carvalho is the founder of SportsUnite, a sports community that hosts games and matches including, but not limited to, cricket, badminton and football. For Playo, this inspiring human being shares light on her journey.
1) When did you start playing Badminton?
Rochelle: I stepped on the court in 2016 for a company tournament. However, it was only after the advent of Playo that I began to play regularly with different groups in 2017.
2) How has playing Badminton helped you?
Rochelle: The game has taught me self discipline, cognitive skills like hand-eye coordination as well as learning to be quick-footed (footwork is still a ‘work in progress’!). It’s increasing my capacity to be patient and has put a spring in my step in my professional life as well!
3) Tell us about how and why you started playing?
Rochelle: Regular games took over my weekends (and they still do) after I slowly began getting addicted to the sport in mid-2018. Using the app, I started joining different groups and realised I needed to keep pushing myself to play better. This also meant getting beaten ‘black & blue’ when I played against stronger players than myself.
Eventually, this led to me hosting regular weekend matches in Indiranagar–creating a rise in people requesting to join my matches. Today, I have been able to convert this exercise into a full-fledged 150 odd sports community; and we are ‘SportsUnite’ (Instagram/Facebook – SportsUniterc).
4) What were the hurdles you faced while creating the group?
Rochelle: The highs usually come with the lows. Requests to one’s games never always ensured that the player would show up; which meant that it could lead to a loss for me. It has been taxing to confirm with players a day before to make sure they show up. The process of fee collection could also prove tedious.
Getting in touch with players can be cumbersome if their contact details are not provided. There are also folks that do not inform the host that they will not show up in case there is a sudden plan – these factors makes it difficult to find a replacement so close to the time.
5) Would you like to tell us more about your group?
Rochelle: Since I learnt Badminton while playing with others, I sensed that this practice could help so many more – one that I now encourage in each person that joins our matches. Having fun and improving our skills is the criteria while negativity and judgement are kept away from the court.
As a woman, I am very glad to have motivating support from the men who respect and treat the women with integrity as well as push their games further. At the end of the day, I have almost always seen strangers become fast friends.
Having planned all matches a week in advance, our games have grown in visibility – hence I employ a first come first ‘accept’ basis of players to join. SportsUnite tied up with Decathlon twice last year (2018) where we organised tournaments that showcased immense skill and sportsmanship. In Dec 2018, SportsUnite brought home the winners trophies for women’s doubles and mixed doubles in Bangalore.
6) How did Playo help you do what you do?
Rochelle: Playo has helped me manage the increasing number of games that I have per week. I can easily manage the number of players I can add or decrease in the game while checking on the player profile and past playing history.
In order to better my game, I slowly started visiting other locations in Bangalore to play – which I could access through the app. As a community, we are now turning into the band of ‘travelling players’ since we are now being invited to play with different clubs/groups across Bangalore for friendly matches.
Our Instagram page features reviews and images of locations and facilities visited that we have accessed through Playo.
7) What are the general problems you face while playing?
Rochelle: Funds are an aspect that we are considerate about and SportsUnite is currently being consulted by corporates to assist with tournaments and team activities; that said – some brands have approached us to collaborate on their campaigns.
Better priced equipment and activewear are also our
8) What are the other sports that you play apart from Badminton?
Rochelle: While Badminton is the primary focus of the community, it eventually became apparent to me that we need to also test ourselves with other sports. I’ve interacted with each of our regular players and know that there are capabilities to learn from one another.
Having established a culture of ‘learn as we play’, we have had games for Basketball, Table tennis, Volleyball and Rifle shooting. We have identified other sports that we will also delve into.
9) Where should sports fit into our fitness regime?
Rochelle: Sports are an integral part of fitness hence a regular workout is also required to be factored in. Warm-Ups and Cool down exercises are key to this regime.
10) What would be your message to the youngsters who just started playing Badminton?
Rochelle: Taking up a sport is easy and you will like it initially. The hard part is to stay consistent and improve your game. If you slip up and play a loose shot, don’t give up. Keep practicing, watching matches. Talk to your fellow players to enhance your games. It only gets better from there!