Palden Dorji Gonsar, Class of 2020, said that he abides by the quote: “Don’t aspire to be the best on the team, aspire to be the best for the team” whenever he plays basketball.
Gonsar has been an integral part of several basketball teams. He has been part of the inter-school basketball team in fifth grade and has made his way up to the senior basketball team.
He had participated in tournaments such as U-18 and U-19 district-level tournaments and Win Mumby. He was also the captain for the senior team at the Asian Challenge tournament in only tenth grade.
However, Gonsar does not acknowledge these accomplishments as the “true meaning” or the reason behind playing basketball. According to him, the sport is all about learning the values of “hard work and brotherhood.”
Having played competitive basketball since such a young age, Gonsar has emerged as a natural leader for the team. When asked about his own expectations as a leader, he said, “I believe that leaders don’t necessarily lead but instead, make young leaders out of players that they play with.”
He feels that he owes his success on the court to the seniors on the team: Karma Keldo Dhondhen and Tenzin Chowang Taklha, both from Class of 2019. He said that they have always guided him.
He said, “I just watched players who were in the senior team and tried my best to replicate what they did.”
To get to his level today, he talked about the time and sweat he had put in. He said that during vacations, he practiced basketball at least five times a week, at times, playing against players from the Nepal National team.
Gonsar is not only just dedicated, but he is also an epitome of perseverance. He has faced several critical injuries that have halted his play for up to a month and a half. Two years ago, he ruptured the muscle on his right thigh.
For people unfamiliar with basketball, it is a huge deal not being able to play for over a month as the seasons are short. It also means that the player misses out on numerous practices and games. Additionally, more time and practices are needed after recovery to get back to the level of play before the injury.
He also had several cases of less severe injuries such as back spasms, ankle sprains, jammed fingers etc. When asked about how he got over times of adversity, he again, brought up his teammates.
“I have good friends and teammates who support me in these sort of moments,” Gonsar said.
Furthermore, he explained that his main motivation to get better was for his team.
He said, “I aim to come back stronger so I can help my team out.”
He reckons that having “the right chemistry” in a team is the most important. He said that he is “extremely happy” with the current team as there is a strong sense of “brotherhood” amongst his teammates.
On the note of brotherhood, he said, “My dream would be to win Win Mumby this year and next year, with my brothers.”
Edited by Shivaansh Garg and Hyenjin Cho
Photo credit: Mikko Aoki