This week I thought I would talk about the inter-class quad footer competition that we used to have annually in the fifties. Our football in that small confined space with a tennis ball in the cemented quad was probably the reason why we developed quick sharp reflexes, so useful in our other sports activities.
I played in goal (like in field hockey), and one of our class teams, we had so many great sportmen in our class that we fielded three great teams every year, as far as I can recall, always won the championship.
The game was fast and quite dangerous, mainly because the cement surface was broken and uneven. I am sure if there had been some safety conscious parents amongst ours who witnessed our lunchtime sport, they would have put a stop to it.
Surprisingly, I can only remember one accident in all my time - that is mine, when, during a really hard fought game, I fell while attempting to save a goal. I completed the game, but by the time I reached class, sweaty and filthy as usual, my wrist was swollen.
Because of the pain when I reached home that evening, I visited the orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Dholakia, located somewhere near Opera House. The Xray (which was a big event in those days) revealed a crack somewhere in the right wrist, which meant plaster and no sport for a good six weeks. Sheer murder.
Some of the best quad football players were the little fellows, people like 59er Noel Ezekiel (brother of the first Miss India, 56er Fleur Ezekiel - thought I would mention this considering the present controversey raging about the staging of the Miss World competition in Bangalore - and whose mother was the French teacher in the girls' school - I think Mrs. Ezekiel lived on the top floor of the kindergarten section between Flora Fountain and Petit School) and Rodericks, compared with the big six-footers like me and Arvind Thadani, who is presently a bigwig somewhere in IBM. Their small height and build gave them tremendous flexibility and ball control.
mother of 56er Fleur and 59er Noel Ezekiel
Some of the quad football greats that I can remember were 56er /58er Nalin Dharia, 57er Jimmy Tata, 59er Viney Sethi, 59er Vijay Shivdasani, 58er Andre, 59er Peter Miovic, 59er John Beddoes, 58er Jaffar Hussain, 54er Ravi Jaitly (not 57er Tony but his elder brother), 53er Rolf Sonawalla.
I wonder if any of these old boys are reading these reminesences. The half hour games were really exhilarating, especally when the tennis ball which we kicked around was wet and stung you like a wasp if it touched your skin.
My forte was the goal throws I used to make. These were so accurate that my team-mate, Rodericks, almost always headed in a goal at the other end. We were a perfect couple as far as quad football was concerned, my enormous frame which covered half the goal mouth and my fleet footed five-foot high partner.
How I wish we had some good shoes in those days. All we had were those white or brown cloth canvas gym shoes - no Nikes, Reeboks, Pumas or Pumas - just plain Bata and Flex canvas shoes with rubbery soles!
This week, in my second editorial in Findians Briefings, I tackle the question of Education where I ask the question as to the number of handicapped persons, those who are blind, deaf, dumb, or wheel-chair ridden, who are being used as teachers in schools and colleges. Can any of you name any handicapped person who has been in a teaching or administration position in our alma mater. Just curious! (Don't all stand up and shout that I have just described the average Cathedralite through the ages!!!)
More about the Tin and Bottle competition and the Lemondrop Cricket Championships in coming issues of Seventh Heaven.
Your Cathedralite friend
Savage House Captain 1959