Many people question me or look at me questioningly when I mention my support for the game of hockey, or talk about the plight of the game in India.
Many have asked whether I am mad..and why I support the supposedly 'stupid' game. My blood boils when I hear the dumbos speak up against such a fine game..themselves being idle followers of the foolish game of cricket.
I was trained in Hockey in my school by a Mr.Shenoy. That is all I know of him, and that he used to be a top-notch player in his days. He was around 50 years old when he used to be hockey coach of our school. A man of perfection and excellently fit, he made his boys play hard and everyone loved him for that.
I was in my 8th grade when I was under his supervision, but being stockily built, I found it hard to find the forward positions and played the fullback position. But, as it happens, I couldn't manage to secure my position in the school team, but made it a point to watch as many matches and play as many practice matches as possible. I enjoyed trying out scoops and passes after school hours.
But, my tenure with hockey came to a grinding halt(as with all my sporting and extra-curricular activities) when my academics took a bad turn. Also, Mr.Shenoy left our school the very next year. Since then, I had not played a single hockey game, and sadly not met not more than a handful of 'real' hockey enthusiasts.
My brother too used to play under Mr.Shenoy, but he played much longer..into his college days and won many a tournaments as well. His hockey stick, that lies around his room always reminds me of Mr.Shenoy and makes me wonder whether I should have stuck to the game.
Anyway, my love for the game remains, and the plight of it pains me. I wish I could find some one to play a game with( might as well be a dream for some time). Having played it, I find it physically challenging and highly enjoyable, compared to the lazy game of cricket.
Thank you Mr.Shenoy(gee..I don't even know his First Name,but as he is a popular figure, I will get to know sooner or later), for introducing me to this wonderful game. The last I saw him was at Fort Kochi a couple of months back, training a batch of students. I had gone there for chilling out, and by chance caught a glimpse of him from a distance. I was surprised at his dedication and commitment to the sport.A great man, who is one of my role models.
I miss his popular chiding remarks,"Idiot International", "Attapaadi Adivasi" and "Foolback".