Head Start Friendship Games

The start of the Friendship Games

The first Head Start Friendship Games were held in 2005 in memory of   the late Perweez Mahmood, popularly known as Tony. He was an avid sportsman and excelled at football and cricket. The trophy for the Games is thus called the Tony Mahmood Memorial Trophy.

Initially, the Games started only with athletics. Over the years various other disciplines have been added and now include Football, Hockey, Tennis and Golf. The number of schools participating has increased every year and we thank them, and their parents and children, for sharing the spirit of participation and sportsmanship.

Why the Head Start Friendship Games?

Competition has the power to bring out the worst in us. It can completely take control of our emotions and make us do things we may look back upon and regret. Such is its impact. The journey of a sportsman is long and not one that assures you where it may take you; such is life too. Playing the game, trying to beat ourselves by raising our own bars, can help us understand why we are playing. Can we just use this participation to learn together as one community of educators and take away from the games nothing more than an understanding and a valuable learning? For this to happen we educators and parents need to exhibit tremendous courage and grace while helping our children accept the outcomes. I see this as an opportunity to collectively educate not only our children but ourselves too, to learn from each other and to share our emotions, appreciate others and build our community.

Expectation comes with preparation and participation. It is natural and lies within the hearts of our children. This expectation or fear of outcome need not dominate the process of trying to be the best we can be. The more we enjoy the sport the better we get at it. What happens after the race or how we help our children manage themselves is what counts. Here we can play the role of educators not only to students of our own school but to all the participants.

They say the difference between the greats and the also ran is the ability to play the game by staying in the moment. Hard to understand and explain but a thought that can be nurtured at this tender age. What we say after the race counts just like what we say before it matters. We have seen some very moving moments so far and we have seen some unproductive ones.

“Head Start has always believed that its students should learn to manage what life has in store for them and sporting arenas are good places to learn to manage outcomes as well as emotions.”

Riad Mahmood, Founder Head Start Educational Academy

Disciplines Offered
Track and field events are what it all began with in the very first edition of the games. Sprinting, jumping, throwing and endurance running are all part of our athletic options.
Introduced a few years ago and is a major part of the games. Most age groups are covered.
Girls Hockey
It all began with a group of girls taking up the sport and has become a part of the games. For now we have only girl’s hockey.
This sport is growing very fast in our country and a lot of youngsters are taking to it. Golf has been part of the games for four years now and will continue to grow with the games.

In 2011 we held the first Friendship Games Golf Skills Championship, adding another discipline to the Friendship Games. This was followed by the inaugural edition of the Head Start Friendship Games Golf Championships – a full-fledged golf tournament for schools in 2012, a first for schools in Bangalore.

For the games we are all one school or a community that is working towards helping young people develop not only as sportsmen but also as future citizens who can impact society around them.