We certainly fall short of words when we start talking about the rich heritage of Indian Hockey. After all, we are one of the most successful teams in the history of sport with so many Olympic gold medals and an array of accolades. The achievements are heroic and we definitely hold enough pride to talk and project it. Having said that, last 3 decades have come across as a tussle for Indian hockey and the hockey federation has not found its way out of it. Over this period, we also failed to form a team which could challenge the pace and stature of modern hockey.
Is the federation only to be blamed for the torrid time India hockey has witnessed? Hockey federation could be one of the factors that have fabricated this entire downfall of Indian hockey, but there are other various other factors that put a resistance on the rising of Indian Hockey. We can endlessly talk about the Infrastructure problems the sport faces today, the lack of role models which today do not drive enough individuals to choose hockey as a career defining sport, the kind of media & internet coverage that is associated with Indian hockey, the corporate sponsorships towards the growth of domestic hockey in the country and over the course the public relation with the sport which has never been welcoming to mix the sport with the masses.
The above factors definitely need a trigger to surface and make ways for the transformation of any sport. Like it did for cricket, during this same time cricket saw its greatest rise and won over the heart of millions of Indians, all the national attention drew towards a sport which was producing heroes, bringing glory and creating a name for itself at a global level. But, we cannot blame rise of cricket for the fall of hockey, cricket did not kill hockey! The popularity of one sport cannot be a suffering for another, there is enough room in our country for various sports to co-exist with equal popularity.
Though cricket was catered with the right catalysts at the right time to ensure it continued to grow and get people religious over it, the most important accelerator was love for the sport. Yes, love transformed cricket from just a sport to a religion in our nation. Indian Hockey is also in desperate need of love from the nation, from the masses and of course the federation. The feeling of fondness for hockey is somewhere lying beneath the covers, this is the time to uncover and cheer for Indian hockey. As a country, we are no short of talent but we need an appeal for the sport to rise, an aura for the motivation to set and a revolution to form players with a mindset where settling for ordinary is just not a way of life!
As a country, we have always come out from the thick and thin and won millions of people worldwide. If falling was in our destiny, fighting was in our genes. Indian hockey is another such challenge where we need to rise beyond the fall and take Indian hockey to a stage where we can hold our heads high and proudly say, Hockey, is our national game