Friday, January 25, 2008

My First Time ..

.. at a live game ( sport) . Yep, i've never watched any sport live ever (i'm talking about the national or the international matches ), all i've seen is a few district level kho-kho matches and maybe the odd Cricket division match (i think) at University grounds ( we used to have sports day selections at this ground) near my school, or a football game at the Pachaiyappa's college grounds. Thats is all. Ya i've never been to a cricket match, everytime there is a match at the MAC something usually comes up to screw up my plans or i just won't be able to afford tickets. But a international hockey match for free, i knew this was the best chance i had to end this little jinx. So today i was there at the first test match between India and Belgium at the Mayor Radhakrishan stadium, Egmore. It was Awesome !!

The match ended in a 4-4 draw with Belgium staging a strong comeback after being down 0-3 at halftime. At halftime the Indians were in total control with a strong possession and a good lead. But they really let the game drift away from their hands with mediocre defense in the second half, the Belgians managed to penetrate the Indian defense on each attack and they had 3 field goals in quick time, and they were looking good for a few more. But then i guess this wasn't the complete Indian team, today's match had a lot of junior players who were fielded for some practice before the crucial Olympics qualifiers at Chile.

I never knew the hockey stadium in Chennai was this good, the synthetic turf was relaid in 2004 for the Champions trophy in 2005, the stadium has floodlights of international standards now. This stadium hosted the Asia Cup ( India won the tournament beating South Korea in the final) during September last year, and this is one of the few hockey stadiums in India good enough for International matches, so much for Hockey being our National game. The all-green turf along with the brighter than daylight floodlights, the huge water sprinklers to keep the turf wet, the huge seating stands made it seem like this was some international hockey venue, definitely not a hockey stadium in Chennai.

I'm really impressed, i think i'll be attending the remaining four matches as well, the next one is on Sunday, if you are from Chennai and you are reading this, you should surely drop in some day ( check this post for match details and schedule ) , trust me you'll love it, i really mean this. And getting seats won't be a problem at all, the stands are so huge and today only 30-40 % seats were taken. The matches start at 6.30 pm and will go on till 8.10 pm.

Here are some pics i found when i was googling around today, ( the pics aren't mine and they are not from today's match, if they belong to you just drop me a message, i'll be very happy to give you credit )

If i'm right these pics are from the Asia Cup final, India vs South Korea, India won this match 7-2. Check out the stadium .. Rockin ?

Now with all the talk about the stadium i've totally ignored the teams, i just have one thing to say about the match today. Awesome !! I never knew the game would be this intense, the game was very interesting for a noob ( like me) who knew absolutely zilch about hockey cos it was real quick. The gameplay was way faster than i expected, like during attack the players move at a super quick pace, maybe twice faster than my sprint speed, they make their moves to deceive the defender, and also through all this he keeps dribbling the ball and the overhead taps look supergreat, they manage to control such a fast ball in the air with a single dab. You get it right ? Imagine a ball going over your head height at a good pace, you just tap it to get it to the ground, direct it to exactly where you want it and then start moving on. All this in less than a second dam .. How much skill would this require ? Let me guess: A lot..

So i repeat this again, if you can just spare some time inbetween make sure you drop in to watch a match, you will totally love the experience, i'm so sure..

Have fun !!


Venkat said...

Lets go and watch all the matches da...

ela said...

Hmmm...good to know that u had fun with hockey....if only we spend more money to really train our hockey players....i am sure they would make us proud....

Guru said...

I don't think money is an issue really at least when it comes to hockey ( with hockey being the national game a considerable amount is allotted in every budget), what the sport really needs now is some recognition (attention) from the people.

That will get more young talent into hockey and also the Indian Hockey Federation needs better management.

I'm surely going for today's match too. This time i'll get my own pics .. We're going armed with a lot of cameras today ..

vicky said...

its really gud to see tat someppl still take time to see hockey which unfortunately is our or supposed to be our national sport....!

Guru said...

But then hockey is slowly getting popular, the situation definitely is way better than maybe 5 years back, the game is better off at least in Chennai with the new turf ( in 2005) and the Asia Cup matches ( Sep 2007), and the recent India-Belgium series ( Jan 2008).

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