The decline and fall of St. Stanislaus as a schools hockey powerhouse !

To all the Stanislaus sports lovers!

Recently, I watched a few of the U12, U10 hockey matches played on our schools Donelly gym as we called it. Here are some unpleasant observations:

To start with, other than those involved with Mumbai schools hockey and the various schools participating, I am almost positive that NO ONE ELSE would have the faintest idea that a schools hockey tournament was taking place on the school grounds. Reason- there was'nt so much as a Poster, placard or banner at the school gate to indicate so. Whose responsibility ?? MSSA(Mumbai school sports assoc) or Stanislaus (Host). You decide. In my opinion, knowing fully well the functioning and efficiency of govt. bodies (MSSA) conducting these events, the 'host' should provide the required facilities. Especially St Stanislaus ! Why ? Because we should live up to our motto that we are "..... born for greater things".

For the preliminary matches, whoever represented the 'host' school ie Stanislaus, was conspicuous by his absence. At the first match I witnessed, even the basic toilet facility was locked (at the far end of the shed) till the efforts of a parent rectified it.

Considering that we were the host school, the least that could have been provided was a couple of class rooms for the visiting teams to keep their belongings and change etc. Even the 'home team' were being given instructions by the coach in the little space outside the school gym. The coach was drawing out game plans on the floor tiles with chalk! One black board was all that was required. So much for home advantage!

Half time, and the players (boys U12) were sipping water from their own water bottles. I remember, we were given lime juice by the organisers in our times. Can the 'host' not provide a mere refreshment! Shame!

The school principal could not spare even 10 minutes from his 'busy schedule' (at 2 pm on a thursday holiday) to come down and wish the players of the school team. One expected a bit more enthusiam from the school principal!

The matches themselves were rather interesting. Not for the on field activities.... more for the action on the sidelines. It was difficult to figure out WHO was the COACH ! There were instructions flying around during the match by coaches, parents thru the entire length of the ground. Poor kids, did'nt know who to look at.

Oh yes! the coaching system is a bit strange. There are different coaches for different age groups (U10, U12, U14, U16) in the same sporting discipline. If you consider that the school participates in Hockey, football, basketball, Cricket and athletics, you can do the math and realise how many coaches are involved. Most of the hockey coaches are parents of the students. Big recipe for disaster. Although, one must give them credit for devoting their precious time to the schools activities, it is detrimental in the long run due to the amount of suspicion, accusations and politics generated.

We also have a so called 'sports incharge' of the school. What that designation entails, is anybodys guess. Having heard a few parents express themselves during these matches, it is obvious that there is little or no involvement form the top management, hence no control on sporting activities. That revelation was very obvious and plain to see. No wonder the situation is so pathetic.

Shocking! the school did not even put up a team for the Jr. Aga Khan trophy (the most prestigious schools hockey tournament in Mumbai) for the past 2 years.

The U10 & U12 trophys were both won by Don Boscos Wadala. U10, Stanislaus lost in the final, and U12, the school team did not even reach the finals.

How can we as ex-students revive our schools one time greatness in hockey! It is fruitless to have 'seminars' like 'beyond the class room', when the ground reality leaves a lot to be desired.

So, gentlemen ! Such is the present state of Stanislaus hockey.

Hopefully we can start a movement to change things for the better and bring Stanislaus back to its glory days for which the school was renowned and of which we were all proud.

Remember our greater hockey tradition ! which produced internationals like Mickey, Marky, John and Viren to name a few.

Let this post serve as a catalyst for change. Big question is 'who will pick up the mantle and take it forward'.

Any suggestions gentlemen ?

Neil Mhatre

Francis DSilva's picture

Has the rot set in?

Good post Neil

Not living in India, I cannot comment the actual state of affairs at Stanislaus. But I can "see" what you describe. Its a state of rot that is setting in -- theres still time to reverse and excel. The problem you describe is one at multiple levels -- Hockey languishes in the shadows of Cricket. The drive for academic excellence is portrayed as incompatible with sporting excellence. Online presence and video games offer an easy distraction. And so on.... I'm not bothered about the "why", just so as to factor in the reality. The challenges are many.

Your observations and questions provide practical suggestions that can be acted upon. This is something the alumni can help and support. Ofcourse, ultimately, the responsibility to provide solid all-round education is with the school authorities. Alumni can help push and support them and the PTA in providing good conditions for hockey.

"Parents as coaches" appears to be more the norm, as professional coaching services are a premium -- but not impossible to obtain. Similarly, better facilities are needed. What about astro-turf for the Donnelly gym? Modern training equipment and gear for students.

May I suggest creating a "Friends of Stanislaus hockey" group on this Stanislite portal? Such a group will serve to (a) bring hockey-interested Stanislites together -- provides more focus, in addition to blogging (b) design solutions based on ideas to "Getting Stanislaus win the Jr Aga Khan" or "Growing the next genration of hockey olympians" (c) a means to raise funds and sponsorship that can augment the school's own resources towards sporting activities.

"Think big. Start small, and scale fast" -- We need to take small steps to transform the state of affairs and prevent the rot. Maybe if we start now, we can have results by 2013 -- thats when Stanislaus turns 150 years. What do you think? I can help to the degree physical presence is not needed :-)

Francis D'Silva (1977)

neilmhatre's picture

Stanislaus hockey

Dear Francis,
Nice to read your comments. Nice idea to start a group as you suggested, however, let first see how many ex students participate in this ittle discussion of ours. It'll give us an idea of how many really care. Especially those whose boys are in the school at present.


denzil's picture

Well said Francis ...

... though I suggest creating an altruistic "Friends of Stanislaus Sports" group on the Stanislite portal ... driven by a SSESA sports cell ... who could channelise contributions appropriately.

This would go a long way in helping the School authorities streamline sports in general ... and make the atmosphere more conducive to all ... students as well as their wards.

Besides insulating our alma mater from further barbs ... it would make the Stanislaus sesquicentennial sports dream come true!

Denzil Rego (1975)

Sesquicentenary Inauguration

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