BHUBANESWAR: THE best “things to do” in Terrassa, says Google, is to go to the city’s apparently-famous science and technology museum (mNACTEC), or check out one of its myriad parks and gardens.
All the touristy brochures available online sell the town of approximately 2.05 lakh people (as per 2016 records) by drumming on about its proximity to Barcelona, which is a 30-minute drive away.
Within Spain, however, the country is famous for a completely different reason. It’s simply known as “The Hockey Town”. The organisers of 2018 Masters World Cup (held in the city in August) — a field-hockey competition consisting of teams from around the world — explained Terrassa’s indelible link to the country’s very rich heritage.
“Terrassa was the first city in Spain where field hockey was practised,” they elaborated in the manual for the event. “The sport is rooted within the society here. It’s for this reason why Terrassa was chosen as the sub-site where field hockey matches for 1992 Olympic Games were held.
“For the first time, players from Terrassa participated in 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Since then, there have always been players from Terrassa in national teams.”
That one link which began then continues to remain. Ten of the 18 Spanish players featuring at this World Cup call Terrassa home.Spain coach Frederic Soyez said that it’s because of the city’s great history. “We have more hockey in Terrassa. It has four of the biggest clubs in Spain. The city has great hockey history and has constantly produced players. There are approximately 10 players in our team from that one region.”
So, how did this curious connection begin? The answer for that question is one simple word: textiles.Confused? Following a cultural exchange between English and Catalan families (the former used to live or visit that part of Spain for the purpose of dealing in textiles), the latter reciprocated by sending some of their own children to United Kingdom for improving their skills in the textile industry. While those children came back armed with better vocational knowledge of that domain, they also picked up the basics of the sport, apart from bringing back some hockey sticks.
Andreu Enrich, a Level 4 FIH coach with Atletic Terrassa, explained this link in further detail. “Small cities provide a better environment for development of sports among youth,” he wrote on his blog. “With stronger supportive relationships, a sense of belonging and plenty of relatable role models, interactions constantly happen.”
Holistic growth and identifiable growth pattern directly lead to more participation among children, who according to Enrich sleep with their sticks in Terrassa. “The more fun kids get, the more intrinsic motivation they gain. As clubs, can we promote deliberate play? Yes. How? By promoting social engagement and designing deliberate-play opportunities. We should create hockey apostles.”
Miguel Delas, who played the the first match against Argentina before being ruled out of the tournament thanks to an injury, delved further into the hockey genesis of Terrassa. “It is famous for being one of the places where a lot of players are produced,” said the native of the city. “Players from there are very skilled. In general, we have many kinds of players who are powerful in many areas, but a lot of skills come from Terrassa.”
To explain that particular observation from Delas, one will again have to revisit the point about their development being holistic instead of ad-hoc. “The teams are driven and they all have good coaches,” Delas said. “So players from here have confidence, which they bring from their club to the national team.”
Players from Terrassa may have fluffed their lines during a nervy 1-1 draw with France on Monday, but they still have form and prestigious history on their side.