22 April 2018


That was a foot ball match between Khadakpur vs. Balasore Power house at Balasore stadium, near Kalimandir.Only a few years back I came to know that the playground actually belonged to Balasore Zilla School, even though I was a student of that famous school. We were staying in a rented quarter only twenty meters from stadium. My father was very fond of sports and games.
                                                That was a semifinal match. Father and son purchased twenty five paisa tickets for the match and stood near the goal mouth on the western end of the field. Toss was vital because who ever won the toss preferred to take the west facing goal post to avoid direct sun light after the second half. The goal keeper gets blinded by the direct sun light in the second half. Game was of 60 minutes duration with a five minutes break for lemon break. One fourth of lemon and plenty of salt plus ordinary water brought in an aluminum bucket. No glass, you have to use your hands.
First half was furiously fought and ended goal less. I purseched “chenachur garam” worth ten paisa. Father said “its too hot for me, you finish it”.
Most of the spectators were either standing or squatting on the grass surface; we preferred to stand near a goal mouth because of better view, and less crowd.
The sun was setting on that early summer month and only five minutes were left. Draw means replay next day. Organizers gain for drawn matches.
                                   Balasore power house team was desperate to score. The crowd was shouting frantically in support of the home team, Balasore. Three forward line players were in the D area when their defense was in control of the ball when players of Powerhouse team were charging the defense. Father shouted “Back—Back”, to the no-3 jersey player, who back kicked the ball towards the goal keeper. Unfortunately the goalkeeper had left his position to collect the ball ahead. The ball slowly rolled in to the goal mouth much to the delight of the home supporters. I told my father “its better we live or else may be beaten up by the goal keeper”. Father agreed and we slowly left the stadium and went inside our house and bolted the door. “A very narrow escape, father” I said while taking out my shirt. Balasore team won by those solitary goal-thanks to my father’s presence of mind. No one except me remember that eventful evening. Father is no more but he comes in my dream and asks “son get ready for the finals”.
Down the memory lane (1962)

Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy

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