Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Olympic Hockey

The London Olympics begins in about two weeks time and I cannot stop thinking about the Indian hockey team. Recently, I came across these set of articles about the Indian hockey team. It was nice for someone of my age to know about the great hockey culture we had spawned. The first thing I noticed was that we are not new to politics and nepotism in team selection. But those things apart, the articles shed a nice light on the glorious period of Indian Hockey.
I am now in Dutch country, in Delft and I feel thrilled when I see young Dutch boys and girls cycle to the nearest astro turf in their shorts and skirts with hockey sticks in their hand. Every time I see it, I pause and remember about my country's rich hockey history. Ask any Indian to talk about the hockey history of India and you will notice one name coming up frequently - that of Major Dhyan Chand. He was to hockey what Pele was to football. Seeing him in action at the 1982 Amsterdam Olympics, a Dutch journalist had written, "The Indian ball seems ignorant of law of gravity. One of those tanned, diabolical jugglers stares at the ball intently; it gets upright and remains suspended in the air. It only proceeds on its way when the player has bestowed an approval nod on it." Although it is blatantly racist, I cannot help but admire the sorcery Major Dhyan Chand and his boys managed (at that time, Dhyan Chand was not the captain and just a young member). Apparently he had marvelled the audiences so much that there are anecdotes about him. No wonder his birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India and the National Stadium in the capital is named after him.
Reading all those articles wakes up the passionate Indian inside me, whose national sport is hockey. I am planning to cheer no holds barred for the Indian team this coming Olympics!
Best of luck to them!

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