One Team One Dream: A delightful obsession of fans of Indian Hockey

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One Team One Dream members pose for a photograph at the 2016 Junior World Hockey games, seen with Belgian supporters who India beat in finals. Photo: Facebook @One-Team-One-Dream

New Delhi, 18 August:  Indian hockey is in a state of euphoria. The National team has won an Olympic medal, a bronze after 41 years and for some old timers it was a “dream come true”

But before the Manpreet Singh-led team broke the four-decade old Olympics Jinx, Indian Hockey went through very tough and turbulent phases and most of the fans lost hope of this sport’s revival in the country, and the game saw massive dip in its popularity.

Most of the former Olympians and International stars were quoted as saying that their children are not interested in this sport anymore.

But in this scenario of gloom and doom, there was a group of people who kept their unflinching faith in Indian Hockey. And members of this group were spread all across the globe.

Some of the One Team One Dream members. Photo Facebook @One-Team-One-Dream

According to Raja Namdhari, a young businessman from West Delhi, who is one prominent member of that group, “We always had faith in Indian Hockey. We not only supported it but also prayed for its success. We felt bad when team lost and were overjoyed when team tasted rare success.”

Raja Namdhari became a hockey fan after watching Namdhari XI play in the domestic tournaments.  The Namdhari team was a force to reckon with in the then flourishing hockey circuit in ‘80s and ‘90s.

“I loved the game and soon started interacting with others who had passion for the Indian hockey,” he said, adding “All of us supported our national team without any condition. We stood by the team in its worst period and now rejoice its success.”

He was fascinated by the commitment of these fans who came all the way from England, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Luxembourg and few other European countries and the USA just to support the Indian Hockey.

“Even before I became part of this group, it used to follow the Indian Hockey team around the world and was conspicuous by its presence in the stadium because most of the members wore white turbans,” Namdhari remembers.

Zoomed in photo of the T-Shirt produced by the diehard One Team One Dream fans of India’s hockey team. It shows the names of the team members. India;s team won the Bronze medal in Tokyo after forty years. Photo: courtesy of Harpal Singh Bedi.

This group of fans never asked for any financial help from anybody, Namdhari notes. “They spent their own money and resources while traveling across the World!  They had only one motto, ‘Support Indian Hockey, Support Indian team, Without any condition or qualification’,” Namdhari says.

It was only in 2010 during the New Delhi World Cup and Commonwealth Games  that this group of passionate ‘Hockey Lovers’ officially gave themselves a name- One Team One Dream (OTOD)

Since then the group has grown in leaps and bounds with a core group of about 50 members and over 10,000 followers on social media.

The OTOD gives its unflinching support to the Indian hockey team and wants to see the team succeed at every event, with the ultimate goal of seeing India winning at the Olympics and World cup again.

“What makes OTOD unique is its unconditional and total devotion to Indian Hockey. We were with the team through thick and thin, and when even some former players lost hope our group stood by the team like a solid Rock,” Namdhari says.

The membership of the group is unique too – a true representation of different cultures and faiths, among whom friendships have developed and grown through hockey, bringing people together from around the world to witness Indian hockey succeed.

One Team One Dream had made all plans to be at the Tokyo Olympics “We had our tickets booked, rebooked, accommodation and match tickets ready but were greatly disappointed due to the restrictions and ban due to the pandemic. For many members it would have been their first Olympics,” said Namdhari

Not to be deterred, 15 members of the OTOD met at Bangalore and stayed at the KSHA club, watched the matches, and cheered the team on the big screen. The joy of the group was to something worth witnessing as both Men and Women’s hockey teams from India reached the Semi-finals and the Men went on to win the Bronze.

To celebrate, the team brought out t-shirts to commemorate this great victory and members sporting those shirts were seen at Delhi and Bhubaneswar at the celebrations.

The OTOD has developed a great camaraderie with the press & electronic media and members are thankful for all the encouragement and reports.

Many former hockey stars/coaches including Narendra Singh, Mukul Pandey, Ashish Ballal, Mohammed Riaz, Bharat Chetri, Anwar Khan have now become part of the OTOD. .

The OTOD group has made some plans to promote the game and will unveil them in late October or early November this year.

Harpal Singh Bedi is a veteran sports journalist and former Sports Editor at United News of India. He has covered 8 Olympics, 9 Asian Games and several other national and international sports events.

 

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