Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Too cool for hockey ....

You know that feeling when there is so much you have to say that you just don't know where to start..... I guess it may be better if I just started from the beginning.

My first encounter (per my hard drive) with hockey was when I was around 8 years old and when Pargat Singh and Jagbir Singh (the hockey player from yesteryears....not me) used to don the Indian colors. We kids used to gather at the park of our army flats and go all out for each others shins, we were in the age group of 7 to 15 what else do you expect. This lasted for 3 years and once dad got posted out I have had the opportunity to play hockey only in our front yard with my brother and cousins. I guess its worth mentioning that even those couple of yrs we played hockey it was only used to fill in the gap from soccer, swimming, cricket, and a failed attempt at horse riding. 

Given all of that (i.e. my limited exposure to the game) I find it difficult to explain this love and passion that resides deep inside. The passion that I struggle to control when I see a forward dribbling the ball past defenders, or when I hold a hockey stick in my hands, or when I feel the crack of a meaty strike, or from the sense of achievement from trapping a ball hit at you with lightening speed (well it feels like lightening speed anyway).

It may not be the beautiful game or one for the gentlemen but once you've experienced it you wouldn't want to turn back. I was lucky enough to have experienced it but unfortunate not to have played for longer. It was always so hard to convince people to play the game, cricket or soccer always seemed more attractive given that Indians in general hate to run and are too afraid to walk away from the field with a couple of bruises (or atleast their parents are).

In my view hockey's latest avatar is even better than soccer given that they've done away with the offside rule and made it super fast and exciting.  However, I am a little more than disturbed to see people around me totally ignorant to hockey and the action packed 70 minutes it provides. Ofcourse I know that in India cricket rules the lazy masses but I also know that there are a sizeable bunch of Indians who passionately follow the English Premier League teams like they belong to their own respective neighbourhoods. Its time you people poured half of that passion into your hockey teams... Why?? Well coz its fast, its exciting, filled with goals and your own city/state has a team vying for the silverware.

This brings us to the World Series Hockey and the lukewarm response its getting as compared to the IPL or EPL. My suggestion to all the Indians out there is to give the game a fighting chance, I assure you it won't disappoint you. The venues are cleaner and better than any cricket stadium in the country, the tickets are dirt cheap, the dhol beats are invigorating and the excitement is unlimited. 

I have a lot more to say on this but would leave it for another day. In the meantime why don't you Just Catch the match.

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