Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
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USA - From West Coast
|It was a long tiresome journey from
Los Angeles to New York. Due to lack of funds, no sleepers could be arranged
for us, and the food was far from satisfying.
We spent a day in Salt Lake City, bathing in the famous salt lakes. We spent one night in Omaha, where we gave an exhibition of hockey under floodlights. Our next halt was in Philadelphia, where we played a match on August 20 against a United States XI.
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os Angeles offered us plenty of scope for education and learning the American way of life. We visited California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which has produced the Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Robert Millikan, whose laboratory also we visited.
Hollywood is the home of America's film industry. We visited some of the famous studious - MGM, Universal, etc. We met Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Harold Lloyd in our village, and at the studios we met Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer. We were very anxious to meet Greta Garbo, but she proved elusive.
The Ramakrishna Mission had a temple in La Crescenta, where Swami Paramananda, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, was the spiritual head. Some of us visited his temple and were very much impressed with his efforts to spread the Vedanta philosophy in US.
Another Indian, Swami Jogananda, had an ashram in Mount Washington, just outside Los Angeles. We had our farewell dinner at his ashram, and I remember having tasted mango for the first time during our trip at this dinner.
In the early morning of August 15, we left Los Angeles by train. There was a large crowd at the platform, but most of them had come to see off the British team. Some of our boys had made a large number of friends, mostly young American girls.
It was a long tiresome journey from Los Angeles to New York. Due to lack of funds, no sleepers could be arranged for us, and in addition, the food was far from satisfying.
We spent a day in Salt Lake City, bathing in the famous salt lakes. We spent one night in Omaha, where we gave an exhibition of hockey under floodlights.
Our next halt was in Philadelphia, where we played a match on August 20 against a United States XI, almost the same team that met us in Los Angeles at the Games. They wanted the loan of our second goalkeeper, Arthur Hind, for a half. Hind or no Hind, we scored 20 goals in this match. Curiously enough, even in Philadelphia, they scored a goal against us.
A lady reporter wrote: "The representatives of this country have Arthur Hind, the borrowed Indian goalie, to thank for saving them from a more overwhelming defeat. If the Indian had not been guarding the American cage during the first half, the score would have been more than the final total."
Another writer had the following to say: "These Indians were out for no good purpose. From the minute the official whistle tooted until the curtain call, they trampled the poor inexperienced whites until one member of Uncle Sam's staff was ready for the hospital. During the first half of the slaughter, the Indians courteously lent their No. 2 goalie to the US forces."
From Philadelphia we went to New York, where we stayed at the Sloan Street YMCA House. We stayed five days in New York before we sailed for Europe. The Indians in New York feted us at Hindustan House.
We visited Wall Street, Fifth Avenue, Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and other interesting places in that great city. We spent a full day in the famous Coney Island. Charles Newham and Sir R. K. Shanmugham Chetty, who was on his way to Ottawa for the Imperial Conference, saw us off at New York harbour.
Captain Lal Shah Bokhari leading the Indian team at the medal podium in Los Angeles