The Interviewing India team was having a meeting at Goethe Institute Bangalore. While the team waited for a teammember to arrive, Poorva and Colin struck up a conversation with this young doctor who was sitting at the same table. He was waiting for a friend. As in most cases, a request for an interview was graciously accepted, and then came the question of who would interview him. Poorva or Colin? Colin was afraid if he interviewed Ryan on sports, the interview would become too technical, and preferred that Poorva did this one. Read more about what has driven this young doctor from childhood and what a big role sports and football play in his life.
Ryan Colaco, 26 years, Doctor, Bangalore
Interviewed by Poorva Dinesh
Why did you decide to give us an interview on sports?
Sports has been a major part of my life since I was in high school. What first started as a passing interest turned into…let’s not call it obsession, but pretty much bordering obsession. And now my complete life is based on a sports-driven decision.
What kind of decision?
I want to do sports medicine. At this point it doesn’t have much of a presence in India, but the reason I want to do it is because eventually it will have a presence, and I want to do something which I will not regret doing at any point of my life. That’s one reason why I wanted to do sports medicine, and I got into medicine and I went on to specialize in orthopaedics.
But even in the recent past, I have seen that my decision has been based around sports. I finished my MBBS around two years ago. Then for two years I worked in the medically underserved areas of India. So I did a year’s stint somewhere near Goa, and a year’s stint in the tribal regions of Gujarat. The reason why I went to Goa to work was because I knew I would be able to play football every day (all laugh).
And I went to Gujarat because I am from there, and I have a network of friends so I knew I could arrange for a game every day. So at this point I am depressed because I don’t get to play in Bangalore every day.
What other sport do you play apart from football?
I used to play cricket for the district. I have also skated for my state. That time we used to have those quad roller skates, which right now are quite geeky. That’s about that. I do better in team sports than individual sports. Though skating is an individual sport, I enjoy team sports more.
What is it about team sports that you really enjoy?
Umm…the answer to this one is a little philosophical. When you are playing together and you pull off a game, you realize everyone is thinking of the same strategy and have the same game sense without even discussing it. It is an amazing feeling. That’s what brings about euphoria. For example, I passionately follow Arsenal. Their game is not based around an individual’s talent, but how the whole team comes together or how their team strategy plays out to achieve success. On the other hand, Messi is amazing and he drags his team through. But still Barcelona as a team has a strategy, it plays a certain style of football, a certain philosophy and that’s why it is successful. One guy can only help you so much in a situation.
Even when you play, it is irritating when one person is just trying to hog the ball. What personally gives me the most joy is pulling up an amazing team move, which is more instinctive than anything else.
Do you think Sports has taught you to deal with failure?
Oh definitely! (Ryan laughs) I mean there are only two possibilities. There is a win or lose. Draws happen but most competitions don’t even recognise them as a draw. When I started supporting the Arsenal in 1999, they were going through a massive purple patch that lasted until 2005. They were winning every game. They were possibly the best team in Europe or maybe even in the world. Then until 2012 we didn’t win anything. So we had to face a lot of ridicule as Arsenal fans in the initial days of 2006-2007. We also faced a lot of flak from the other fans.
Football support is about banter. Initially it used to get to me and I used to fight back. But then I realized there was a bigger plan, and things had to go in a certain way because of the plan. This extrapolates towards life. This helped me deal with the flak and eventually I realized I was going through a bad patch. It was just a patch. It wasn’t going to stay forever.
What does love mean to you?
Uh…alright. I (pauses) have been with my girlfriend for about three years and we are getting serious now. Love starts off as a very euphoric feeling. It feels amazing and all but it is a constant evolution. It goes from being giddily in love to just being comfortable with each other. We have realized now that even though we may not always be in love with each other, we’d rather be in each other’s company than be alone.
The clinching point for me is when we meet again after a prolonged period of separation, and the happiness I feel – that is love.