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    Reviving Our National Game

    What a sporting day it was for India yesterday. People who would take the instance of the pathetic loss in cricket and won’t agree to my first line, then let me clear this at the outset – ‘Cricket team is not the team of India. It is at best the BCCI team and their win/loss doesn’t necessarily mean a win/loss of India’. Hence the so called diehard fans of cricket can stay away from this post as I really care rat ass if the money hungry cricketers won it or lost it or for that matter if Sachin was wrongly adjudged out or not. The favorite son of the soil Mahendra Sing Dhoni is doing the clarifications so don’t expect anything from this lesser mortal on our millionaire cricketers.
    Back to the point for which I started writing this piece. The sorry image of us losing to Britain in Santiago and missing our flight to Beijing Olympics last time around is still fresh in many minds. We were dejected and felt like our national game going to oblivion with this final nail in the coffin. We were angry on our sports bodies for managing our national game so roughly and demanded heads be rolled both at the players as well as management end for such debacle. We blogged, twitted with an open defiance of many things as we were worried we may not see our national game getting the respect and applauds it deserves. That was a day and yesterday was another day.
    Continuous performance of highest quality during the tournament has brought about a huge fan following of our Hockey team. People who had lost faith in our team after the Beijing qualifier routing were again getting interested on what is happening on the Hockey field. Backed by a 100% performance throughout the tournament when our team entered the Maj. Dhyan Chand stadium yesterday evening, it was no surprise that a jam packed stadium with Tricolor flattering everywhere greeted our players. What a clinical performance that followed. Clad in white our boys were everywhere with Sandeep seemed like he can’t just commit anything wrong yesterday. 5 out of 6 penalty corners were successfully deposited behind the net at thumping force and we were already issuing our boarding pass to London even before the French could realize how the lightning has struck them. And for sure with an 8-1 score line we can safely say, we thrashed France in the encounter. After a long time I felt the goose bumps seeing our team taking a victory lap with our Tricolor flying high everywhere. Before we move ahead let’s pause for a moment and ponder – So much of flair. Doesn’t cricket look pedestrian in comparison?
    That said, let’s not forget the way we have mismanaged our national game for decades now and how we have systematically ruined the game that is synonym with our national identity. No support to our players in any form whatsoever; crooks and complete nonsense at the helm of Indian Hockey Federation; no recognition to our team who were performing under high duress and adversity. You name it and we have done that to sabotage our national game and its reputation. I still remember the college days of Rourkela and the apathy shown to our players. Panposh sports hostel which has produced players (many of them are world class) like Michael Kindo, Deelip Tirckey, Ignesh Tirckey, Sabu Varky, Lazrus Barla, Vikram Lakra didn’t had an AstroTurf stadium at their disposal. Forget about the AstroTurf, the Sector – 5 stadia they used to practice didn’t even had a clean tap to supply water to our players. The AstroTurf designated for the stadium had to be returned thrice due to lack of fund. It was only when the then Chief-Minister of Odisha Mr. Biju Pattnaik took a note of the mess and paid from his pocket for the turf that the stadium finally got it laid out. I am struggling for genuine answers. Can’t we spend 1.5 crores for our national game when we readily spend a double of the amount for a single visit of a scoundrel minister’s security? Is this what a nation can at best do for its national game? Instances of the apathy meted out to our Hockey team are many. Who can forget the plight of the Punjab state Hockey team who were forced to spend one day – two nights on the Guwahati railway station platform. Can’t we even arrange a decent hotel for the guys who represent us and keep our Tricolor flying high? Cant the people of Guwahati come forward with their help after seeing it on TV? Disgusting.
    Along with the team there is an equal number of personal apathy towards our players even. On a direct flight to USA, a familiar face greeted me with a can of beer as part of the cabin crew members. The old college days flashed before my eyes and after mustering some courage I called the gentleman and asked – Are you by any chance Igensh Tirckey? After a brief silence he acknowledged my guess. Little did I know I would have embarrassed him by asking this question and followed by asking for his autograph in the laid out tissue in front of me. Reluctantly he honored my request and scribed IGNESH in the piece of paper. After I touched down, out of rage I wrote to Air-India and their complete insensitivity towards an Olympian. Can’t they offer him an administrative job at least? All that they can offer is a job as a crew member to serve beers to outright idiots like me on a flight? Disparaging. I am told Air-India have rectified this stupid act of theirs after that. Who can forget the tears of a great like Dhanraj Pillay? Perhaps one of the best forwards the world hockey has ever seen, he was left with no option but to cry before the cameras and vow not to allow his son ever to adore the sports which always was his life. Could we have asked for a worse scenario for our national game? A three time Olympian had to cry before us to let know the nonchalant behavior of our sports bodies towards the servants of our national game. If we haven’t yet hang our heads in shame for allowing this to happen then there must be something grossly wrong within us. Did anyone has forgot the case of Rajiv Mishra yet? We shouldn’t, at least on the largest interest of national pride.
    Look at the Indian Hockey Federation and the hawks that run it. A tremendous defender and Olympian like Pargat Sing can’t win the Hockey Federation election because of acute politics while complete garbage having little or no knowledge of the game adoring the chair. I pity for our national game more than anything else. While our boys have to go on a strike for meager 25000, the buffoons at the helm runaway with the loot. Can’t remember another nation which is so indifferent and disrespectful towards its national game. Those who still believe Suresh Kalmadi should not be hanged on the nearest lamp post please raise their hands.
    Where is our sports minister Ajay Maken? While his last evening Tweet urging everyone to support our team was commendable, just want to ask this. While Doordarshan can live telecast a useless piece of cricket match from down-under, why no live telecast of the Hockey match going in our country? What the hell is going around here; someone please clarify me right away? Why DD blacked out? Our national team playing our national game, fighting for a spot in the Olympics and our national broadcaster have no interest in telecasting it. Heavens, I don’t have words to describe such felony of obnoxious amnesia. Hope we won’t have a repetition of it in future as promised by Mr. Maken.
    In the meantime – Three big cheers to our Hockey team. Bravo!!, you made all of us proud. Keep the good work and concentrate a little on our defense, skillful usage of the free hits and center half and who knows we might just win the Olympics gold after 32 years; exactly as I have assured Michael Kindo (father of a very good friend of mine James) a member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, that he will see it happening again.
    To rectify the mistake a little, on behalf of an entire nation and few rascal officials I beg an apology from our Hockey team for treating them so badly for decades together and in return these guys have always kept our Tricolor high. Hats off to you Boys and hope you guys would forgive us for our mistakes!! Watch out London, here comes the real juggernaut; tackle it if you can.


    1. An excellent article written with gusto,All the best wishes and kudos to a well written article on our national game!Will save this article as souveneir

    2. Dear Cynic

      I agree that "Indian Hockey Team" Played well to qualify for the "London2012".Kudos to them.You giving a rats ass to Cricket Team doesnt have any effect.They are our team as well and they have bought happiness and joy to our faces and glory to us.Hockey let itself down and went to pits and we cannot go on ranting and blaming it on cricket.Cricketers did well coz they faired well and they deserve it and just by ridiculing them will not justify the downfall of Indian Hockey brought upon themselves.They play well we will all be cheering and wishing them well but not by calling and abusing cricket.This is where it shows that you are "Jealous" and no matter you admit it or not you cannot stand cricketers success.Pity but you will have to live with it.

    3. Please do not go overboard with this qualifying win.We have just qualified to play in the olympic games.That is where the test lies.Beating canada and Poland.We will have to play well or else this euphoria will only deliver on thing and that is pain.

    4. @ First Anonymous and others

      Please go through this piece (http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/randomaccess/entry/spectator-support-for-the-real-team-india-is-heartening) and read the comments. Cricket is over hyped and full of arrogant and greedy entities. A team full with greedy people and managed by money hungry leeches and thugs of finest quality can't be our national team. This doesn't fall under our ethos as a nation. For me, it always was and would always remain a BCCI team.

    5. truly said and want to add one thing, goalkeper of our team sreejesh has to travel from chennai to mumbai in train sitting in toilet,and those pathetic cricketers roam in aircrafts, pathetic, disastrous.

    6. An article written from the heart bro..feeling and tears that rolled out have be verbalized here!

    7. @Keshdaji

      Hope the drops that fell from my eyes while scribing this is reflecting on the page. Bravo our Hockey team!!

    8. I loved your article...I was a decent basketball player and swimmer but then the Majority love for a crotch scratching game of cricket by everyone made me never go ahead of the districts till the time AIEEE & NDA exams came on the top list of my priorities. I would also like to add something as I have experienced, anyone can play cricket anywhere (Timepass) but it certainly takes a decent amount of training and skill as well as Infrastructure to even stand in games like football, hockey, basketball etc...Tennis and Squash are too tough for any layman to start and since Indians are pretty low on quality (look around guys, our IT, our labor, even the quality of the equipment for our soldiers)....You know why cricket gained popularity

    9. Dear Cynical

      Read the reply and totally agree to disagree with your opinion.That doesnt mean i do not respect what you have said.Crciketers are not greedy it is the system the Sponsors and other bodies who tend to benefit from popularity of a particular discipline and in this case that happens to be cricket.If cricket was bad full of greed and blah! blah! blah! then i am afraid it wouldn't have attracted the kind of attention it has.They deserve every ounce of it.
      Now coming back to the other part and when we talk about Hockey and tears and pain.I am afraid they are getting the kind of attention that they are deserving at the moment.I loved watching them qualify and would watch them in olympics.I will though not go overboard and get emotional about something which is at the end of the day a reality that Hockey guys need to prove themselves and once they do it we will all be proud of them and we still are.Chak de India !!!

    10. yet another proud odiaFeb 28, 2012, 12:34:00 PM

      hey cynical. i can distinctly relate to the article mentioning sector 5 rourkela. place where i was born and brought up...every word is true. we had been hearing of astro turf for decades and it was delayed inevitably. but still look at the world class players being produced from my hitherto unknown home town.struggling against all odds. really if we nurture young talent in hockey who knows india may produce yet another Major Dhyanchand someday....

    11. Hi Cycnical....

      I'm surprised , dumbstruck !!!!!

      Am I your clone ?????????

      I got to know about your blog while reading some comments in it ....

      How could I have the same 100% thinking like you !!!!!!! and I'm more astonished after reading this article...

      I'm fighting with my colleagues , friends , even family members to support hockey ....

      Just want your mail id , if u dont mind...

      Mine is pagal.baba100@gmail.com

      Cheers !!!!

      Vaande Mataram ..

    12. What a wonderful article, thanx for sharing this, though am not a sport savvy my son has a topic for debate in school to retain HOCKEY as our national game or not well we asked him to speak for our national and happen to read your article and my gratitude to all the people who feel the same way. Grade 7 in CBSE has a chapter in Hindi which is apparently an interview with Dhyanchand, thats when i learnt about the misery of the Hockey players. i think we should have campaign in schools to boost the game and not to let our young ones be left with an impression of the misery involved in the game.