History of Field Hockey

Man from when he was early man has been obsessed with sticks and the adrenalin rush that this piece of wood provides. The love for the stick has grown and adapted itself to the recent times. We still love the wood and the adrenalin rush and now have special sports which give plenty of both. To name some games which involves wood and the adrenalin rush are cricket, baseball and the toughest game of them all hockey.

Hockey has two major divisions; namely field hockey and ice hockey. Field hockey is played on the ground where players run with their sticks, control the ball with a stick and try to score a goal in the opponent’s corner. Ice hockey on the other side is a faster game, which is played in the colder countries. This is played in an ice rink. The players were roller blades and instead of the ball, there is a round disc called the puck. This game is an aggressive game and lot of physical contact does take place when these players play.

The history of this game cannot be exactly pin pointed. There are a lot of evidences which show that similar forms of the game where played in countries far and near. Painting depicting ancient tribes’ men playing these games has been found in many countries. Beni- Hasen’s tomb in Egypt has a painting which dates back at least a four thousand years depicting a game which sure resembles hockey.

The Arabs, Persians, Ethiopians, Australians, Romans etc have all got various paintings which date back to many centuries which depict games being played like hockey with crooked or hooked sticks. It is still not clear as to where the term hockey came from. It is believed that it maybe derived from the French word for shepherd’s crook, which is known as hocquet. Anglo-Saxon words like comocke also mean hooks.

The English men were looking for another game to play during the winters this was when hockey began to be played in the 1850s. The game was played on a bigger ground with something like a ball. Then the game started improving as different people added different concepts to make the game more interesting. Soon they were playing with balls and thin sticks with a crooked front.

It was the British army which took hockey to the other corners of the world. Soon people all over the world were playing a game like the present day hockey. Then it was in the year 1895 when the first ever international match was held between Wales and Ireland. Ireland won that match 3-0 and made a mark for them as the first ever champions in the history of field hockey.

Thirteen years later hockey was given a big boost when it was added to the list of sports in the Olympics. In 1908 the first Olympics hockey medal was to be given in London. Three countries participated; England, Scotland and the first champions Ireland. It was only by the year 1928 that Hockey found its permanent place in the Olympics sports list.

This was the time when hockey had spread to the rest of the world and the South Asian countries had taken to hockey in a very big way. It was during this time that the great hockey legend Dihan Chand made his dazzling debut.

The international hockey federation came into existence after hockey was dropped from the Olympics sports list. This was when Paul Leautey a French man came up with the idea of the FIH. In 1924 Federation Internationale de Hockey was founded with seven founding members. The members were France, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The game reached the Asian sub continent in the late 1880s and was soon more than a passion. The Indians have won the world cup hockey many times. After the formation of Pakistan, Pakistan became the hockey supreme and they have registered many wins, many awards and many records within a short span of time.

The FIH has been steadily growing, it has 112 members and the number is steadily rising as more and more countries want to play this interesting game of hockey.

Women’s hockey started early too, round the late 1880s but then it never took off as a major women’s sport. Only after the 1950 has there been a steady increase in the interest in this game. 1980 was the glorious year when women’s hockey was also accepted by the Olympic association.

Now, the current form of hockey is still undergoing a lot of change. Technology and advancement is coming in at regular steps. The only thing unchanged is the spirit of hockey, the players running all around the field with hockey sticks in a bid to outdo their competitors.

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