I had been invited (though no invitations are required for Hockey) by Mr. Shankar Chatterjee to join them in the ongoing Hockey festival organized by One Thousand Hockey Legs (OTHL) to promote Hockey among School Children being held from 8th April, 2010 to 10th April 2010 at various School grounds.
Due to my preoccupation, I could make it only in the evening on the last day (10th April a Saturday) to Shanti Sangha Shiksa Mandir in Parnasree, Behala. This ground on which the matches were being held was open from all sides, a blessing in disguise as people from the neighborhood and passerby’s gathered to watch the matches and generated a lot of interest.
The ground wore a festive look as participating Teams and their supporters along with a fair crowd were watching enthusiastically the proceedings of the final day of the 3 day affair organized by OTHL. The game scheduled to be played was between the Home Team Shanti Sangha and Kanaipur Sriguru School Girls teams.
First half went without a goal but in the 2nd half it was the Home team which opened the flood gates and in no time was leading by 4 goals to Nil. In the dying minutes Kanaipur team scored a consolatory goal. Final score line is no indication of the intensity or the fight put up by both the teams. Understandably, both sides showed contrasting emotions, one of well deserved victory and the other of a loss due to some missed chances. Understandably the Principal and the school staff as also the coaches were elated at this win of the girls.
Next match was between School Teams of Khalsa and Brahmananda. Khalsa School team showed there class right from the beginning and outclassed the opposition 4-0. It was a treat to watch some excellent play by the youngsters of Khalsa School.
Next up was an exhibition match between the boys and girls team of Kanaipur and Thunderbirds (comprising of children of Soura Niloy Complex) Match went to Kanaipur team and frankly I didn’t keep a watch on the score line as I was busy watching the enthusiasm of the “Thunderbirds” who were enjoying the outing.
After each match Prizes to the winning teams and best players were being given to encourage them further. Customary speeches, thanks giving and distribution of T shirts followed the last match of the day. By this time it was evening and getting dark.
It was an end to the Three days of festivities organized by One Thousand Hockey Legs and as their logo on the Banner said “Turf or Grass or even Sand, we will Play Hockey for our Motherland” I am sure in days to come children from these teams will go on to represent India in Hockey and bring back the lost glory.
My hats off to the organizers and OTHL team who have taken out valuable time from their busy schedule to encourage and bring Hockey to Children. I am sure this effort will not go in vain and will definitely bear fruit in days to come. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Shashank Gupta one of the Volunteers of OTHL who had come down from Bangalore to be a part of the Kolkata chapter festivities. We met briefly as he had to leave early to catch a flight back to Bangalore. Next time we will catch up for sure.
I thank Dr. S. K. Chatterjee for his invitation and cheer his effort. Keep it up Doc.!!!
Bharat Malik, a resident of Kolkata, is a former goalkeeper of East Bengal club. He currently is the goalkeeper of Behala Sports Association.
Developing sustained passion for Hockey by introduction of Hockey to pre and early teenaged children and simultaneously promoting playing sport as a culture and tradition, thereby contributing to develop a sports loving society.