Hockey Night (afternoon) in Kashmir

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Indian Olympic Association President Calamadi En Kayos places a call to NHL commish Gary Bettman. “Gary, please! We are so fucking killing it here.”

Being the important hockey moguls we are at WAYOFFSIDE, we get invited to some pretty prestigious events. But we were truly honored—and maybe just a little scared shitless—when we recently journeyed to the ghetto ski area of Gulmarg in the high Himalaya of the Indian state of Kashmir, to witness the hockey portion of the 5th Indian National Winter Games. To get yourself oriented, Kashmir is the place where a heavily militarized Line of Control exists between India and Durkadurkistan, and bearded Mohamed Jihad-types regularly toss grenades into busloads of tourists because, well, God is Great and the Indian government, meh, not so much.

“It is through events like these that Durkadurkistan can finally be defeated, er, uh… the revival of Kashmir tourism can be achieved,” Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Athletes from all parts of the country (?????) and the Indian Army and Air Force were competing in alpine skiing (a low-angled joke), cross-country skiing (a high-altitude joke), figure staking (also pretty funny) and ice hockey (complete comedy).

At 9,000 feet above sea level and over five metres of snow on the ground, it was tough work getting the rink dug out and the ice surface scraped clean of garbage and monkey feces. Not to mention removing several unexploded RPGs from under the concession stand. When the tournament finally got underway, there were other issues to overcome. Stray dogs were sleeping on the visiting players’ bench, and monkeys kept stealing Gatorade bottles. As for the play, imagine a Pee-Wee hockey league where anytime someone swipes at the puck they fall over, never to get up again. Once a player is lying on the ice they simply hack mercilessly at the ankles of any other passing player—including their own. Eventually everyone is in a heap like a New Delhi intersection.

We couldn’t recommend the action to anyone, except maybe as bombing practice for the Durkadurkistanis. Still, our visit was clearly appreciated. “We are praying many times for WAYOFFSIDE to come and now God has answered our prayers. As organizers of the games we couldn’t have asked for more,” said Tourism Secretary Naeem Akhter.

We’re thinking they could have prayed for a Zamboni.

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