Gokul Goes Everywhere

Freshman explores his passions on the field, court, and engineering classroom.


Landon Chen, Staff Reporter


Crack! That’s the sound of a cricket ball ricocheting off a bat, a noise that freshman Gokul Baladhandauthabani hears frequently as both an avid fan and player of the game. 

“I usually play a lot of cricket, and it’s my favorite thing to do, because you can easily make friends and I used to play for the American Cricket Academy,” Baladhanduathabani said. Cricket is played with 11  people on the field each time and involves pitching,fielding, and running between 2 bases. 

Despite his passion for the game, Baladhandauthabani finds it hard to keep up with his pastime.

“Cricket is not a popular sport here in America, but it’s a really popular sport in India,” 

Baladhandauthabani said. 

Baladhanduathabani is involved in other sports besides cricket, playing volleyball at the junior varsity level and soccer at the freshman level which have been fulfilling for him. 

“My favorite part of freshman year is sports because you meet a lot of new people, play and watch the game, talk to the coaches, and just all the interaction is fun,” Baladhanduathabani said. 

Overall, his favorite part about being on a team is the camaraderie he feels with his teammates.   

“It’s fun cheering, supporting, and caring for each other. Working as a team, they just feel like your family,” Baladhandauthabani said.  

In general, Baladhandauthabani loves to stay active. 

“Normally in the morning, I exercise. If I have time, sometimes I take a jog,”  Baladhanduathabani said. 

However, staying fit and being an athlete comes with its difficulties.

“My biggest failure came when I missed an almost game-winning open goal and after that miss I worked really hard because I did not want that to happen again,”  Baladhanduathabani said.  

Needless to say, Baladhanduathabani loves to compete, but even competitive people have an imaginative side. 

“I like drawing, but my main goal right now is to become an engineer of some sort. I like to build stuff and I like the creativity,” Balahanduathabani said. 

Balahanduathabani shows his love for engineering and art in a variety of ways, such as taking classes in the subjects and starting projects. Some of the most notable things Balahanduathabani has made are a cardboard gun, bird feeder, and coin separator. In spite of the countless passion projects Balhanduathabani has taken part in, the most memorable thing he has created is a drawing. 

“I won this huge drawing competition by drawing people celebrating Pongal which is basically this celebration in southern India where they worship the sun, its values and the crops. It’s basically just saying thank you,” Balahanduathabani said. 

Although his hobbies of sports, engineering, and art may not stick out when first meeting him, his last name might. Pronounced (Bah-luh-dune-dee-da-bah-ni) Balhanduathabanis’ name has complex origins. 

“My name comes from my father’s lineage, and its roots stem in religion,” said Balahanduathabani. 

Inevitably, having such a long last name comes with problems. 

“People ask me how do you say it, how many letters are in it, and they always give an attempt on pronouncing it, but they’re all pretty bad,” Balahanduathabani said.  

All in all, whether it be digging a volleyball, building a contraption, or sketching a portrait, Balahanduathabani has a growth mindset. 

“I’m still a kid, I have lots of room for improvement and I really feel like I can motivate other people,” Balahanduathabani said.