Monday, July 14, 2008

Field Hockey on Natural Grass– A need for revival

The stick work, skills, deception, flair and beauty of field hockey that lures many young kids during the 70s’ especially in the sub continent of South Asia and South East Asia is very much fresh, even though it has been nearly 20 years since the inception of artificial turf into modern hockey.

It was the ‘Indian dribbles’, ‘Argentinean reverse’ that made me and hundreds of Andersonians, “YES” hundreds - of form one students to join our famous hockey club under the tutelage of Mr. Pritam Singh and Cikgu Shamsuri whom fueled the already burning desire to ‘whack the ball if not the man’ on the field. Well that certainly did not stop us from playing football, handball, rugby, athletics and still come home with half a dosens of A’s in public examinations to satisfy our parents.

Coming back to hockey; those stuff that we do in the grass field daily, is the soul that made us love this game so very much. Add that with the performance of Minarwan, Perry Khoo, Kaliswaran, Saiful Zaini, Shankar, Calvin at National level and the likes of Dhanaraj Pillay at International stage, one need not be a rocket scientist to figure why its’ such a beauty; even though we were occasionally hammered by Australians and other Asian giants, they were our unsung heroes with their stick work and flair.

Seeing the modern form of ‘western influenced’ hockey, there’s not much happiness or joy even if victory is ours’ for taking. The ‘soul’ is missing; lack of stick work, flair, deceptions and creativity in the game. As a sports scientist and a performance analyst, I do understand the very condition of artificial turf and the speed that ball is moved in it; does not permit a display of skill and stick work that were evident in the much slower natural grass. The Astroturf certainly suited the style of many European and East Asian countries.

Yet again, if tennis could boast of clay, court and grass champions; Football with its conventional 11’s, beach and futsal; why can’t hockey with turf and grass. I’m sure a grass hockey World Championship will have more teams in it than the World Netball Championships. The mechanics of movement, tactics, techniques and even stick engineering will be different between field and turf hockey.

If it can generate the dying culture of sports in Malaysia, why then not revive it than adhering to the whim and fancy of western influenced hockey. Turf hockey certainly adds steel to their existing sporting culture, with lack of natural grass and seasons. We instead have to brunt the cost of building hockey turfs, watering it (think of all the waste), maintenance, resurfacing it every five years and playing accessories that goes with it. Hmmm….Wonder who is getting rich?

1 comment:

Malissa said...

Good for people to know.