BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Derrick Menezes loves the waters that nestle Goa and it is this tryst that has made him realise that “teaching is the best award as it remains in your heart forever.” “You do what you have been blessed with and never try to compare with others because each one gives back differently,” says Derrick who still enthrals the world of water sports through his beginnings in Goa.
“Life is not just about winning but about passing knowledge to others. One does face social blocks on the way, and when it happens just move on and something better comes up,” believes Derrick who grabbed the spotlight as a badminton player and kept the focus zooming until he represented India in water sports.
Unlike many sportspersons from Goa, Derrick reached heights in terms of winning laurels for the state and country and at 61 is still giving back to the nation through the same waters that quench our thirst for success.
“When one wants to achieve something in life, one has to work hard. When one has passion, one enjoys hard work. Being a champion is secondary. Hard work is the essence because ultimately winning depends on the mindset during the event and that can be attributed to luck,” are thoughts shared by Derrick as he reverts to his achievements on and off the waters.
Derrick made his prowess as a sportsman known at the age of 13 and displayed his class at 22 when he first went to represent India in the Singapore Open championship soon after having lost his brother at sea when he was 23.
“It was difficult. At that time, I didn’t have the guts to tell my parents that I was selected to represent India. But my father told me, if I lost one son on the road, it doesn’t stop me from stopping my other son from using the road and he goaded me to go. I went, though I knew my mother would not have slept till I returned,” recollects Derrick with emotions stringing his face.
Hailing from a family of doctors, Derrick wanted to be a doctor. “I did not get the marks and decided to do science. After my studies, I got a chance to join a shipyard from where I carved my profession of helping build and test boats of all types,” professes Derrick who is associated with a United Nations agency involved in shipbuilding.
“Having been involved in watersports, the job came naturally to me and I ended expanding my passion for water and it enabled me to share my experiences of the sea with those interested,” admits Derrick, who can still be seen on the beach teaching youngsters windsurfing, kite surfing or simply sailing.
Derrick is an individual full of positive energy and that explains the feeling of goodness when being around him. Sharing, caring, smiling and bursting with laughs are attributes that he carries with him most of the time.
“If someone's career is my passion, then there cannot be a better fit in life. I think, I am where I am today because of the upbringing imparted to me by my parents and grandparents and also because of the person I chose to be,” admits Derrick who at 50 had to undergo a double bypass surgery.
“Most of us come across a stupid phase in our younger days when we think smoking is the in thing. We fail to then understand how bad it is till it is too late,” believes Derrick who gave up smoking in his early 30s but still thinks he could have done better without it.
“We have to believe, when the thought of smoking and other vices come our way, we are not invincible. We need to be sensible to be able to do things within limits,” thinks Derrick who, despite his surgery, lives a life of a sportsman.
“Whilst teaching others, there is certain learning for myself. Every student is different but being able to work around a student is fascinating. There is a great sense of satisfaction,” claims Derrick who has been teaching boat building in the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Sri Lanka amongst some of the countries.
Derrick was one of the first Indians to have done formal watersports training courses in the United Kingdom with the Royal Yachting Association in 1986 and he has been training in various countries since.
“I decided to bring that training of mine to Goa and in 1989 started the first watersports training centre at Bogmalo beach,” he recollects.
While he is not over-religious, he believes in God on whose foundation his life is based and that is how Derrick’s ethos of a happy life can be based.