Cheque De India

It had to happen...

Indian Hockey has always been a distant step brother of cricket. Atleast, frm the time Ive followed sports in India. Ive always enjoyed watching hockey...

The first impressions were the hindi chapter on Dhyan he scored 4 goals in 4 mins or something. Then in school, there was a hockey team...though I never came close to selection.

The team I vividly remember...Dhanraj Pillay was a character his prime, Mukesh and Gavin Ferrera ( i think so...Ashley pls confirm) and a few sardars always a mandatory requirement for any defence ..pargat Singh the veteran. And then I happened to come across Adrain D'souza- India team goalkeeper, my good friend Ashley's brother, who 1st made it to U-19 and then to the senior team. Quite a proud moment for all of knw someone who has made it so big. Later, I ended up knowing him better having invited him to campus for a celebrity event.

And I so very well remember that game...India vs Pakistan played in Malaysia I think...India were trailing 2-4. There was tension in the air...Suddenly there was a flare sticks goin in the air...4 paki players rounding up an Indian. Almost fisticutts. And there should Gagan Ajit Singh...that glare..that look..."one step and u'll pay for it". Running from behind came Jugraj of the most flamboyant players for India. To support Gagan being was as if Indo-Pak revisited. Dhanraj came in and calmed the youngsters and egged them to play...

And in the space of 5-10 mins India pumped in 5 goals...won the match 7-4!

I felt it was a redefining moment of Indian cud have invigored the nation to take up the plight of the national sport. But the next game..the 3-4 playoffs for bronze...the entire nation watched with excitement...we lost 2-3 to Pak...lost the chance to push hockey to the next level.

And since then, hockey has barely survived to attract eye balls. One moment up! onemoment down...losing the Olympic entry was a ppl...but how many even knew it was the Olympic play-offs going on!

And today, Aaj Tak manages a ripper...catches IHF secretary taking a bribe for setting up a tournament, picking players for the Indian team and waht not! I had read abt the controversy surrounding Viren Rasquina's untimely exit, the teary eyed Dhanraj Pillay and the untimely accident of Jugraj. Things seem to be going crazy for Indian Hockey...

From Chak De India to cheque De India!


Ashley said...

Atlee, things have never been easy for hockey and these unfortunate events only add to the misery of the players!

Some of these players are personal friends of mine, and you have to believe me, the passion with which they play and practice is phenomenal. There is no incentive in hockey. No big bucks, no fame, nothing... its just love for the game, that drives young guys like Adrian to rush on the field.

But, i feel proud, like u that Adrian has taken up hockey. He makes us all proud and is a one of a kind in India. Only if the media-politicians-corporates noticed their hardwork and gave them a hand...

God Bless Indian Hockey!

neha2go said...

Hey atlee...nice one this....Quite enriching for me...cuz I didn't know half of this stuff...have a good week..and blog on....

Hemanth said...

Dude, nice post. Sensible one for a change [:D]
I was impressed by ESPN STAR's initiative of a premier hockey league and was hoping it would take off in someway. But unfortunately it never did.

I think the real spoil sport is the popularity that cricket as a game enjoys. More than anything we need to blame ourselves and partly the administrators of the game who run after money rather than sport. In India there can be only one number one in any field, cricket in sports, IITS for engg grads and IIMs for M grads. Anything else will never rise to that level.
Same is the case with Hockey.

It amazes me how a small country like Australia can produce top teams in Hockey, Tennis, Cricket, Swimming and various other sports just like that. There shld be something wrong somewhere !!

mul_seahawker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Hey Man... I share these thoughts.. hockey seemed so adrenaline packed and Dhanraj, Jugraj, so very mercurial.
Nice post reminescing our growing up years.
That Jyothikumaran should be hanged


I am not sure blaming popularity of cricket is fair , its all media and sponsership . If tomorrow you have similar kind of sponsership in hockey , that sport would come up to.

lets be practical, how many of us would allow our nephews to think about taking hockey of for that matter any other sport as a profession. Cricket atleast even at a lower Ranji level guarentees you some income to support ur family, in case of hockey and other such sports even playing at a national level may not be enough financially.

There has to be some incentives for kids to take up hockey early on, why did we always play cricket .. why were our sport icons always cricketers ... cause that was the only sport we were encouraged in.

Its really simple Money makes and mars everything, even sports. If we invest the kind of money and media attention as we did for IPL hockey would be in such a good shape .. and for a change kids would know that it is after all our national sport

But i respect the hockey players who in spite of all the pitfalls play their hearts out for India and do such a good job at it. Hats off to such people who only have the immense love for their game to keep em going. I for one could never follow that path even if i had the kind of talent ... then again how many of us would have ?

thats my $0.02


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