One of the downsides of any sport in this country that’s not televised is that it doesn’t get seen. In fact, come to think of it, it’s the only downside to non-televised sporting events. I’m the last sort to insist that sports channels should be covering events like the 2009 Noida Khokho Championship or the Navi Mumbai Fifteen15 Cricket Tournament. But surely, I would have liked to witness the proceedings of the Azlan Shah Trophy that India won after 14 years.
Tell you the truth, I heard about the Indians doing well only after reading about them defeating Pakistan in the semi-finals. Forget about this being the first time since 26/11 the two countries were locked in a pretend-battle. I just popped my lips with disappointment that I had missed the opportunity of seeing ‘my team’ thrashing ‘their team’.
So there I was ready on Sunday, flipping sports channels to find out when the India-Malaysia final was going to be aired. I even looked up the internet to find out what the time difference was between Malaysia and India, so that I could wake up earlier than usual and cheer the Indian hockey team on. Nothing. Not on ESPN, not on Neo Sports, not on Zee Sports. Not even on Chak de Doordarshan.
My interest in hockey isn’t overwhelming. Neither am I one of those guys who have a mission of reminding the world every second month how cricket has gobbled up all the mindspace of Indian sports. The logic is rubbish as, thanks to the remote control, I can turn my attention to Champions League Football matches as well as India-New Zealand Test cricket whenever I fancy. It’s never been an either-or situation and watching hockey wasn’t ever going to be about giving up on watching IPL cricket or something.
But there you had it. I saw India’s self-esteem-boosting moment in Ipoh, Malaysia, only after the results were out and that too, through recorded clips on news channels. It stands to reason that hockey’s going down the drain in this country. You can’t even get to watch the Indian team when it’s a champion.