by Thulsi Priya B
Rakeshwar, an aspiring hockey player shares his experience from how he chose hockey as his sport to how his regular practice took him to National level.
He has been playing hockey since his sixth grade. He is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies in Media Science at Anna University, Chennai.
Rakeshwar, everyday, makes himself a better player with all his spirit towards hockey.
Here he talks about his hockey journey so far, what it taught him at college and his own personal career targets.
To start off, tell us a bit about your early years. How old were you when you first started playing hockey? And what motivated you to choose hockey your game?
So yes, I started playing hockey when I was in my sixth grade. Initially, I had interest to become any player actually. At school, only hockey practice will be regular and has a long-time session practice, so I wanted to play the game and see how it is. That’s how I started playing hockey and began to like the sport. Nobody motivated me to participate in sports, with my own interest I chose hockey.
Did you have interest in any other games in your childhood?
I like all games and sports. But my only interest was in hockey because our coach doesn’t let us play other games as we may get diverted and distracted. Also, personally, my interest was only to play hockey though I liked all sports.
Who is your favorite player or your inspiration? Or did you have any sporting heroes growing up or someone you looked up to?
To be honest, I don’t have any heroes or favorite player or role-model or any inspiration and I don’t like that concept. When my teammates play good and better than me, I used to think we need to perform better than them and I make myself better. Simply, I am the inspiration to me.
How supportive were your parents when you chose hockey?
So like I said, I started playing hockey when I was in my sixth grade. From sixth grade to eighth grade, I played hockey without any knowledge of my parents. They don’t even know I play hockey. When I was in my eighth grade, I got selected for Nationals. That was when I first opened up to my parents stating I got selected for Tamil Nadu team in hockey.
They were so much shocked and questioned me how was I selected when I didn’t play hockey. I confessed them everything. Things didn’t blast to my surprise. My parents were pretty okay with me playing hockey and thus I continued my hockey journey with their concern from then on. I used to have practices in Chennai when I was in my eighth grade itself. My parents supported and encouraged me so well.
What position you play in hockey? How would you describe your playing style, and which Indian hockey would you compare it to?
I play on the right-wing forward position in hockey. I use my own tricks and tactics to dodge the puck and speed up goals. Sometimes, if the team gets a bit dizzy, I play on the center-off line.
How did you balance your studies and sports when you were at school?
I equally like studies and hockey. I balanced both well because when I was 8-years-old, my mother used to say if I complete all my study works, I can go out and play with my neighborhood friends. And that became a habit to me and I started following it. Also, during my exam times alone, I will skip my practice session and go home. So, balancing both wasn’t a tough one for me to deal with.
Is there any incident where you were the hero of that one tough match?
I won’t say I am some hero of any match. When I was in my tenth grade, we played a state match. The opponent team was so tough to play with. They were from some Sports Academy who practice and focus entirely only on hockey. I remember giving my best for that match. We lost that match with just 1 goal.
Everyone present there were shocked and surprised with my performance. That was the time when many sports officials and other coaches noticed me through their eyes and appreciated me after the match. That one match helped me a lot to get into Nationals.
You want your family to be present in the match when you play or do you feel shy and can’t focus, if they are around?
My family members haven’t seen me playing matches anytime. But yeah, I will be fine and okay even if they come, because my focus and concentration will completely be on the game.
Is hockey going to be your career or your companion in leisure time?
I really haven’t decided on that yet. But I’ll never stop playing hockey no matter what. I’ll take up what life gives me.
Hockey puck is one hell of a rock. Have you ever got a hit with hockey puck?
During my school time, I didn’t get any hits or injuries. After entering college, in my first year, I got hit with the hockey puck for the first time. My left hand’s little finger was fractured.
So, how was your comeback after the health and cure rest?
I actually didn’t care much about my fracture. I used to go to ground and play with my right hand. And after one month, I got completely okay and started playing matches again.
How has the sport of hockey progressed since you first started playing and how do you think it can improve further?
I would tell only after my college, I got myself better with the game because I saw many players here and got trained by a different coach here at college. But, yeah, I started this game at school so same credits goes there too. The journey from then to now is simply wonderful and I see myself a better player, presently.
What is your ‘motto’ or ‘slogan’ while playing the match?
I don’t fix any motto or slogan while playing the match. Before I enter the ground, I pray once not to get hit and play the game safe and easy.
Now imagine, if in some way, you are allowed to frame a new rule in hockey. So, what will it be?
I think the present rules are fine for me because I’ve been playing matches for like 9 years and got used to it and I don’t wish any change in rules or to frame a new rule. If in case, any new rule is framed, yes, I would take it.
What are your current plans and goals for the future?
My current goal is that I want our team to win the inter-zonal. In future, with form-2 or form-3 certificates, I have a wish and an aim to get a Central Government job and I believe to achieve it.
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