Our national game makes a comeback!

By: Shreya Jain

Move over Dhoni and men! Its Sandeep Singh’s strokes creating the buzz in town! 2012 has brought with itself many changes, especially in the Indian sports scenario. Its almost surprising to realise how relatively unpopular sports have become frontrunners this year leaving behind the religion of cricket. Leander’s tennis biggie and now Rajpal Singh and team making waves. This is the time for new age Indian hockey. Its time for a new chapter to be written in the history of our national game.
Hockey became the breaking news of the day, rising the way a phoenix rises from its ashes. Healthy, fit and in-form players; check. Immense practice; check. Hard-work; check. Team dynamics; check. Plan of action; check. Victory; check. Yes, the Indian men’s team proved that they are no more a mismatch for their European counterparts. The 18th ranking French team were attacked by the Indians’ simple game plan which was to attack the opponents into submission. A smashing 8-1 win over a mentally and physically drained France escalated into roaring celebrations at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi. Having been eight time Olympic winners in the past, not much good news has come their way but this dry spell was finally broken at a very unexpected hour.

Cricket’s loss has become hockey’s gain. When on one the one hand every eye had been glued to the Indian cricket team’s gaffes and blunders all throughout the last decade, hockey has always been the underdog, the less popular national sport. While cricketers face the worst losing streak since 1968, hockey enters the Olympics after 8 years. Maybe the over-commercialization of cricket was the kickoff for the journey downhill. When the continuous scrutiny and pressures of the entire nation’s billion plus population has played up negatively against cricket in the past few months, the hungry-for-affection, under appreciated hockey players grabbed the limelight. Anyhow, our beloved cricket stars are sure to find their way back into the billion Indian hearts sooner or later but I sure hope that its not a replacement of the hockey players.

Though Indian hockey’s accomplishments have been sporadic but so has been the encouragement by the entire nation. The lack of feverish support and religious fandom can be attributed to the exiguous achievements and vice versa. A chunk of the populace is still confused as to whether hockey really is the national sport. And the majority of those who know it, believe cricket should be. As a nation that started out as hockey giants, we flipped over to cricket in the blink of an eye, and who knows why!

Well, who cares about cricketing losses as long as hockey goes the chak de way! While the larger part of media still ponders about cricket’s anomalies, the national sport’s triumph is probably an indication of a greater victory in the coming future!

There have been many bumps along the ride but we know that we are now moving closer towards the destination. As London games approach and the entire nation gets pulsating, we can only pray that the encouragement pushes the team in the right direction and the blood and sweat of these players pays off well. The ultimate title is far away but its definitely well within grasp. The hope has been born that the dark horses of hockey team, keep up with this winning streak, and bring home a well deserved hockey gold after a long haul.


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