New Delhi:You may take hockey out of the Indian sports priority list but can you take it out of the heart of the Indian sports fan.
While hockey may be in a sad state of affairs at present, a rather unique group of hockey fans have kept their faith. They are hoping to get hockey back to its glory days in more ways than one.
Sixteen-year-old Umesh Kumar from Rohtak is among the 40-odd members of the Faith Club who literally lives, dreams and breathes hockey.
Come Sunday and Umesh is all geared up for his weekly dose of hockey. It takes him three hours to get to the Faith Club, but that's a small price to pay for how much his game has improved in the eight months that he's been a part of it.
The Faith Club is a group of hockey lovers who are doing their bit to improve the currently deplorable condition of the game. The group gets together at the Central Secretariat grounds in the capital to further that cause.
This tradition of Sunday hockey started almost three decades back giving birth to the Faith Club, which was eventually registered with the Delhi District Hockey Association just four years back.
"I rather die here on the hockey field than on a hospital bed. We are here for the passion of the sport and to make sure the boys learn as well," said S D Sharma, patron, Faith Club.
All the Club's senior members take their role seriously not only in making sure that each Sunday is house full but also in training the youngsters most of whom come from under-previledged backgrounds.
With continued support from ex-Olympian Ashok Kumar and a growing interest amongst the young members, manager Mahesh Dayal has faith that his boys will one day go on to play for Team India.
"I've loved hockey since my childhod. I come here for my fitness," said one youngster.
"I've been crazy about hockey since the beginning. I feel I have it in me, I want to
prove it and make it to team," said another.
So while the rest of India loses faith in the resurgence of Indian hockey, these players keep their passion for the sport alive through the Faith Club.