We understand that people tend to take sports very seriously, as they should.
Athletes and coaches tend to work together and push their boundaries of fitness, strength and stamina to become better and achieve new heights in their choice of sport. The sportsman's spirit is full of adrenaline, the determination to do better than ever and the hunger to win. We get it.
What we do not get is how some players, or rather their coaches, decide 'how much is too much'? What are the boundaries, where do we draw the line?
The case of Bengal's Under-19 Hockey Team is the perfect example of 'taking things too far'.
Bengal Hockey Coach Asks U-19 Players to Shave Head as Punishment for Match Loss pic.twitter.com/aLnrok4JBK— Gurpreet Singh (@Gurpree46492633) January 21, 2019
During the 2019 Junior National Championship (Division B) taking place in Jabalpur, Bengal 1-5 to Namdhari XI in the quarterfinal, post which their coach, Anand Kumar, allegedly forced every member of the squad to shave their heads clean for losing the game. Out of the roster of 18, all but two players refused to give in to their coach's preposterous demand and did not get their heads shaved.
One of the players who didn't get his head shaved said, that the Kumar threatened to do the same even after they won their first match against Gujarat just because they “didn't play well.”
However, there is a flip side to the story as well, in which the coach absolutely denied all allegations and said that the students who did go bald, did it completely voluntarily and out of repentance for playing badly. He did admit to scolding them and saying something about 'shaving their heads' off, but clarified that he said that in frustration and on the spur of the moment.
As soon as the story broke, the Bengal Hockey Association officially announced a three-member committee to carry out further investigation. "I will speak to the players once they are back from school. Necessary steps will be taken," said Manmeet Singh Goindi, Director, Sports Authority of India.