Well, if asked some Indians about what they thought was the National Sport of India his answer would most probably be Cricket. Even though most people will agree but, the truth is the National Sport of India actually is Field Hockey. The thing is actually the hockey team deserves little better treatment and higher praise than cricket. But, do we treat both games equally in India and do we have any special attachment for our national game? Even though Hockey is the national sport of India, and its glorious days, but how Cricket has become the so called national sport of India.
Also, we Indians get angry at the slightest insult to our national flag, national anthem; why not care for the national sport then? (“Chak de India-Hockey vs. Cricket. “). My intention towards writing this article is not to say that Indians don’t know about their country. Instead my purpose is to refer to the part of population who actually don’t know or care about our nation. I am pretty sure most of the people who read this article are not included in this part of the population. Hockey has been played in India way before Cricket was, Hockey became India’s national game in 1928 and was played for the first time in the Olympics that year.
The Indians won the gold medal without conceding a single defeat in all the matches they played. From then on until 1980 India virtually dominated the sport winning 8 gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the Olympics. Once it trounced USA by margin of 24-1 goals. Such was its glory. 1980’s scripted the decline of Indian hockey, and heralded the rise of Indian cricket as popular sport. In 1983 India won the Cricket World Cup and instantly its charm reverberated throughout the country. It was in this decade that Indians were introduced to Televisions as a large-scale that helped the cause.
It is not surprising that hockey’s loss was cricket’s gain. The reason for this is because of the craze and the fact that most people in India want to play and cricket and have a keen interest in the Indian Cricket team. On the other hand Hockey is a sport that has remained hidden for a long time. Most people don’t even know that India actually has a hockey team. This is not because of the ignorance of people but also the fact that media has a huge role to play in this. On one hand every cricket match if India is showed in TV’s and been written about in newspapers and magazines.
On the other hand Hockey is talked about in newspapers and magazines but, none of the matches are generally shown. In addition to this Indian Cricket Team has fan following all over the world. On the contrary Hockey doesn’t have even the national following at that large a scale. The reason for the population to be more interested in Cricket then Hockey is because not only does it pays more, the Cricketers get more recognition then Hockey players. Now you yourself think which sport do you ant to play the one that gives u everything the world sires or just the name that you play the national sport?
After talking to a few people about why many Indians do not know about the national sport I found out that “The glorious days of Hockey are long lost and Cricket has dominated every other sport in India. ” As said by Mr. George who has been living in India for the last 30 years “ In the last few decades Cricket has emerged has the Sport of India in such a way that people, even Indians don’t remember that India’s National Sport is India”. There are several reasons for this; one of the main reasons is that Cricket pays more then any other sport in India.
While, a Hockey player earns about 100 grand a year, Cricketers earn millions. The thing is in the last few years the Indian Cricket Board BCCI (Board of Cricket Council in India) has emerged to be the biggest cricket association in the world. This is because of the success of the Indian Team in addition to the constant support of the population both monetarily and through support by attending matches constantly in fact people come in numbers such as 200,000. On the other hand the Hockey Matches hardly has any audience.
This makes it clear that Indian Cricket Board is a huge success compared to the Hockey Team. Other then this media has a huge role to play in the image of Hockey payers and Cricketers. While, in newspapers and magazines there is distinct information about what cricketers do, even their personal life, Hockey players on the other side are completely unknown to Indians. In fact, after talking to Bobby Philip who is presently a Soft more in JCC, Kentucky I found out that he didn’t even know the name of the captain of the Indian Hockey Team, Dilip Tirkey.
Not only this, while cricketers advertise in TV’s as ambassadors of various brands, Hockey players are not even involved in advertisements. Also Indians who immigrate to different countries still support the Indian Cricket Team when they come to their countries. On the other hand, Hockey matches hardly have any audience. But one disagreement I found while talking to Ajish, a senior in Eastern High School was that the reason why Cricket has passed Hockey is the score margin, it’s as if Indian Hockey Team was meant to loose only.
Actually, Indian Hockey Team has now eventually started to change teams by getting the youth more involved in the team and the change is evident. I don’t want to say that Indian Hockey team is nowhere. Here is where I state my visual source, the movie Chak-De-India. This movie shows how the Indian Women Hockey Team which is said to be worse then the European High School Team, tries hard and wins the World Cup. But, in the movie what was noticed was that the players say that the main reason why the join the Hockey Team is because of the Government house and salary thy get for playing for the nation.
Also, it shows how even though the spirit of Hockey is really low but, its not lost, its there but needs some help to go ahead with it. It means that while there are a few people who are interested spiritually in Hockey the majority plays only because they get house and pay. A national sport deserves to be spiritually played and given the importance and the due respect, which unfortunately a few Indians don’t give Hockey. Hence it can also be said that while there is no doubt that some Indians don’t care about the nation or the national game, this attitude has to be changed.
I know it’s easier said then done because of the fact that Indian Hockey Teams condition has been the same for many years. What we need is though, that we take out time with this since, it is going to take time. Also, the media has a huge role to play they need to understand the national sport deserves more importance then what they are giving. They need to continuously keep in check with the Hockey teams and let the population know what’s going on. Keeping all this in mind we need to compose a plan good enough or stable and long lasting and give the national sport the respect that it deserves.