June 04, 2011

Roar for CSK but support volleyball too!

The roars at Chepauk were deafening last weekend. Chennai Super Kings had won the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket and won it with ease.
Well before the CSK players lifted the trophy parties hit the top and there were lots of people outside the M A Chidambaram cricket stadium and in city clubs and bars showing off their CSK colours.
If the IPL continues to be well managed and presented year after year, it could duplicate the success of international club football.
And our city will have lots of CSK fans who will want to roar more often.
Chepauk was our destination if there were matches on the weekend that we could watch for free in the 70s. The stadium was a fifteen-minute walk from home. Every other youngster in Chepauk and Triplicane could play cricket.
The Egmore stadium was our destination on the other side of the river. It took us 5 minutes to get there from our school if we took the short cut of jumping over the wall that protected the hockey field.
The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, as it is called today hosted three intense sports activity. Hockey, volleyball and tennis. A few chess diehards would play games under the shade of the campus trees.
Hockey and volleyball attracted our bunch of schoolboys. While the city hockey league matches began at about 2 p.m. the volleyball court came alive at about 4 p.m.
There was one man who drove everything about volleyball at the Egmore courts and he was a roly-poly man called P. John. He not only nurtured generations of volleyball players but also saw that his Nellai Friends Volleyball Club became legendary.
Everybody who played, cheered or gawked at the games in Egmore knew this man and made sure to be at the matches he organised here.
I am told Nellai Friends is perhaps the oldest such club. It is celebrating its golden jubilee this year. And the celebrations come at a time when the Indian Volley League (IVL) has just been launched and will be in action in our city from this weekend at the Nehru Stadium. Nellai Friends is involved and it wants sports-lovers to be there.
The IVL also needs our support. So if you love sport, make time to be at the stadium. There are some exciting teams in action and volleyball too can excite you like cricket does.

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