Grey Group’s advertising professionals kick their woes with football

It took two men with one dream to kick-start Grey Group’s tryst with the beautiful game.

The saying “work is worship” has never been truer than it is in today’s day and age. The constantly evolving technology and consumer demands mean people are spending more time at their workplace then ever before. It becomes important, therefore, to find common interests and form bonds with those you work with in order to facilitate team work and help you destress at work.

For Grey Group’s Aaron Pereira and Pierre Santos, it was their passion for football that brought them together and helped them forge a friendship.

“I’ve always wanted to play football and get as many people as I can to play as well,” says Aaron, “So whichever company I joined, I would ask around if anyone was interested in playing. It became a trend. Even when I met Pierre for the first time, the first thing I asked him was ‘do you play football?’ and he said yes. That is how our friendship began. ”

The duo was disappointed, though, that in spite of their mutual interest in the game, their company did not have a football team of its own. That is when they decided to take matters into their own hands and work towards forming a team. “The first practice we he had, a lot of people turned up. Though we didn’t know everyone, there was a good vibe which gave us the belief that we could play together. Hence we continued and put more effort into forming the team,” recollects Aaron.

However, it wasn’t always easy, being from a demanding field like advertising, and it often became difficult to co-ordinate with everyone. But the advertisers soon found a creative solution to their problem. Says Aaron, “Being in an advertising agency our timings are not really fixed and we can’t leave until our work is done. Everyone has a different job role. We faced a lot of issues because not everyone was available in the office at the same time. So we started booking a later spot. We didn’t take the 6 or 7pm slots but rather the 9 or 10 pm ones. We play, we go home, and we sleep.”       

“Yes, Managing time is a problem and it depends a lot on work,” Pierre weighs in, “Sometimes you have to work late. What we usually do is go and talk to our seniors so that we can play for an hour so, and then comeback to finish our work.”

The team has come a long way from there and participated in 5 major tournaments, reaching the semi-finals in 2 and finishing runners up in the others. “The most memorable tournament for me, though, was the first one we played together in Kurla,” says Aaron, “It was 4-a-side game which is typically very fast .We didn’t have any practice session before that and went into the tournament just to see how far we reach. But we reached the finals. In group stages people noticed our game and on the second day there were many people standing around to watch us play. That was a huge confidence boost for our team playing our first tournament. It made us push harder and we reached the finals.”

Although the team is thrilled with their results, they also acknowledge that playing football, for them, is about more than just winning and losing. “From the time I started playing football, it has always been a way for me to get away from my daily life. The time I am on the pitch, I forget everything that is happening around me in life. Be it injuries or stress from work, I still try to make time for football because it relieves the stress I have through the day,” Aaron.

Varun Charatkar, a data analyst who is also a member of the team agrees. “For me football is a big stress reliever. When I play on the field it’s all about having fun. Even if I am stressed while working, the thought of playing football later relaxes me and I can concentrate better on my work,” he says.

“When you play a team sport like football, you realise your strengths and weaknesses and those of your team members. It is like a partnership where you try and help each other to improve,” adds Pierre.

The team is currently preparing for their next major tournament in February and have just message for other football enthusiasts who are stuck in a rut at work, “Kaam toh hote rehta hai but you will never get this time to play ever again in your life. Make the most of this time instead of regretting later. It is better to have played than saying I should have,” concluded Aaron.

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