The Game of Hockey
There remains a debate of the origin of the game of hockey. It could be Persia or it could be Asia, but the game is known to originate around 2000B.C. All said and done, the first international tournament was played with Ireland and England defending the goals in 1895. The game of hockey found itself as one of the games in the Olympic Games in 1908. It began as quite a rough game with 11 players from either team fighting for the ball, but gradually came to be adopted even by the ladies.
The game of hockey was introduced to the Indians by the Britishers like many other passions. Calcutta, or present day Kolkata formed the seat of the first ever organised club that played the game of hockey in 1885-86. Similar groups and clubs came into being with the increase in game’s popularity. The states of Delhi, Bihar and Orissa were quick to follow suit. The Olympic Games organised in Amsterdam in 1928 witnessed participation by the Indian team for the first time. Women joined men on the hockey ground soon enough, and women found a place in the game in Asian games in 1982. Despite efforts by political groups to oppose it, the game of hockey found itself in the Constitution of India as the national game of India.
With the evolution of hockey, there came to be several variations of the game. Ice-hockey evolved as a genre played on ice with a rubber disc popularly known as puck. Roller hockey is played with players on roller-skates. Sledge hockey is played with the players sitting on sledges instead of running about on feet. Other forms of hockey are beach hockey, floor hockey, gym hockey, etcetra.
The game of hockey has been at the heart of controversy and debate as much as any other game. There have been instances of foul play with tampering of the ball, and manipulation of results. The International Hockey Federation has been actively interfering in cases where foul play has been witnessed.
The rules of the game differ in cases of indoor hockey and outdoor hockey. Outdoor hockey involves the position of players in different categories. Players as defenders and attackers form an inherent part of each game. Midfielders do the best to do what both attackers and defenders do. An efficient handling of the hockey stick, especially in cases where dribbling of the ball is required, becomes essential. The ball must be handled with only the flat edge of the hockey stick, not the rounded side. In addition, the ball should not be touched by the players by any part of their bodies. Doing so while playing a game would mean a foul play, necessitating a penalty. This rule does not apply to the goalkeeper, who can use his hands and legs, along with his hockey stick to prevent the ball from entering the goal post but that too is allowed within a definite diameter around his goal post.
A normal game of hockey is played for about 70 minutes, with two halves of 35 minutes each. The team that manages to pelt the ball the most number of times into the goal of the opponent is declared victorious.
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