You Say You Want A Revolution, Well You Know……


No one has ever proven a link between John Lennon and Hockey, although growing up on the streets of post war Liverpool he would have no doubt found a use for a Hockey stick. I imagine that there are some parts of the Hockey globe today that it would be handy to have a stick on you. Places, perhaps, that know what ‘Revolution’ really mean’s.


         That was my immediate thought upon viewing the glossy banner of the ‘Hockey Revolution ‘ home page on the FIH website. That and the photo. Ok, it’s easy to take pot-shots from the side. Running the governing body for a multi-national sport isn’t that easy. Anyone that has ever had to organize 11 people to turn up on a Saturday afternoon for a game will tell you it is no joy. The difficulty of this task can be multiplied by other factors as well. Juniors, for example, not only require the skills of a cat herder, but also have the added burden of parents. Then there is the person that has to organise 8 or 9 or 10 teams to all turn up at the right time and place. That’s a lot of cats. I think you can see where this is going. Up and up and up until eventually we get to The Good Doctor.


         The idea that the FIH wants to do something should be applauded. The sport cannot rest back and wait to see what happens. The world is a dynamic one today and moves very quickly. New ideas can be obsolete before they happen, and Hockey must be ready to adapt to those changes. So I was quite prepared to accept the ‘Hockey Revolution’, and despite it being a bit ‘passé‘ in name I get why they went with it. I just hope they didn’t pay too much for that gem. As for the photo, well, I could write a whole other column on that subject. But that would be rather unfair. Best it’s just changed, don’t you think.


         So at this stage I am still with the program, and I want to know what the revolution is. So far I have discovered the ‘Revolution’ will involve…….    No sorry, still hung up on this revolution thing. Some revolutions are planned, some just happen. They very rarely turn out as planned, and when they just happen you can’t stop them. One thing common to both, and runs across the whole metaphor be it an ‘industrial revolution’ or a ‘technical revolution’, or even a ‘Woman’s liberation’, something will be swept aside, be it good or bad. Revolutions always have losers.


          I know I am being pedantic, it’s just a word after all, like clubs, or umpires, neither of which appear anywhere in the 5 key initiatives as outlined on the ‘Hockey Revolution’ web page. The 5 key initiatives did contain the words brand(s) 3 times, commercial 3 times, commercial partners twice, partners only once. Brands made it 3 times and events got 4 mentions, professionalism twice and sponsors, products, value, fan, follower and viewer all got in. Player got 1 mention. I was beginning to think this is less French revolution and more Revlon multi-shade lash builder revolution.


          I do understand the need to embrace and harness the new media landscape. Hockey is competing on a vast landscape with some large greedy predators. It is a complex formula of media rights and event management and visibility and tweets and likes and all that stuff. So why is the revolution so under-whelming to me?


         Firstly, isn’t that the sort of stuff the FIH should be doing anyway? I didn’t see one initiative that couldn’t have been written 40 years ago and been as relevant then as now. That’s not to say the initiatives are not worthy, but the need for them is certainly not new.  Second, there is one sure way to attract more followers, partners, brands, viewers, sponsors and fans. Create more players. I know, pretty simple really, but you didn’t expect something more from me. Third it confirms in me that along with recent rule changes we have all fallen victim to the T20 myth. But I will get to that in coming weeks. And one more word on the word. Revolutions are also the masses rising up to seize power from a ruling elite. One man taking over power at the top is called a ‘coup’.

Thursday June 22 
Not wearing shinpads is an open invitation for lower leg injuries to occur, especially to players who think they are so good they don't need them.
Hockey Tip No 063: 
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