My hockey tale seems to have struck a chord in many of you. Thanks for all the nice words. I think I just enjoy writing about these events. I am so glad that you all seem to enjoy reading about them.
The sequel to that drawn game was not too good. The following year we had to travel to Bishops School in Poona to play them on their home ground. Our hockey team was really oriented to playing on grass. The pitch at Bishops was just plain earth and gravel and we could do nothing right. It was just to dusty and messy for us. I had no grip on the ground and was slipping all over the place. All the great saves I made that day, and there were plenty of them, were pure accident.
Back Row: Andy Gordon, Mistri, Maurice Belcourt, Arvind Thadani,
Trevor Newnes, Ashok Kapur
Seated: Noel Ezekiel, Vijay Nayar, Jaffar Hussain,
Mr. Jagdish Pande, Viney Sethi
Seated on the ground. Jacob Matthan
I had a very difficult game. I was a slightly better goalkeeper than the previous year, having matured rather well, but even my heroic efforts could not stop us being trounced fairly and squarely - I think it was 3-0. Not a game I would like to remember as it was pobably the largest score line by which we ever lost any game.
That trip to Poona otherwise was really a great one. The Ruias had a guest house in Poona. Our group of about 15 did not stay at the Bishops Dormitories but at the Guest House. It was great fun as it was extremely well equipped and the Ruias had a great vegetarian cook at the Guest House. Ashok and Anil were great hosts.
Do the sporting contests with Bishops and Mayo College in Ajmer still occur or have they been replaced by the school taking part in the local circuits?
Now, the much promised story - about Jesse Owens.
I joined Cathedral in 1954. I had transferred from Bangalore where I had studied at Bishop Cottons, which was great school with plenty of playing fields - we had a first eleven cricket pitch and right down to a fifth eleven playing pitch.
So sports was part and parcel of the way of life of us Cottonians. I was therefore taken aback to find the school in Bombay without a single sports field within sight.
I had asked our class teacher, Mr. Timmins about this. He promptly put me down to take part in the school athletics championships which was hardly a few days hence.
I entered the high and long jump (the days of egg and spoon races were far gone by then) and I was asked to turn up at the CCI for training. Being lanky and springy and having had the benefit of the sports culture of Cottons, it was a piece of cake, except I had to come second, as my elder brother was in the same juniors group. He took the first prize while I came second, both of us breaking the junior high jump and long jump records in the bargain.
This double win by these two brothers from the south made us exteemly popular and we were in great demand for all the sporting events - for Savage House.
Just about that time we heard that Jesse Owens was going to visit Bombay. There was much excitement in the air as we heard that he was going to visit the school. That was a false rumour. What had been arranged was that he would conduct a training session for some of the members of our school at the CCI. Both my brother and I were among those chosen to take part in the training session.
I hardly understood a word of his American English as he talked to us and told us how to do the straddle and western roll - a far cry from today's style of high jumping. But the real thrill was when he showed us how to do really do the long jump. He did not have to talk, but he showed us that as we left the ground we should start pedalling as we if we were riding a cycle. I think within a couple of jumps we were doing a foot more than previously.
To my mind, it was one of the most rewarding evenings of my life having had a chance to spend a couple of hours actually being trained by this almighty individual. I am sure that if Indian youngsters were given this same opportunity today we would motivate them to become winners in the sporting arena.
Your Cathedralite friend,
Savage House Captain 1959