(Photo: © FIH / Gordon Morrison)

On the idyllic island of “Hockey” the tribal elders meet to discuss a strange phenomenon. Their traditional tribal sport of hockey is being threatened by a game called T20 cricket and another called “soccer”. Not only are the TV channels showing virtually round the clock cricket and soccer but even the tribal youth are going to the circus to watch this T20 cricket “thing”. Some just stay home watching it on TV and eating chips and popcorn before heading out to a rock concert.

By Steve Jaspan

The tribal elders ask their sommeliers to bring out some vintage tipple and lock themselves in the Squash Room so they can bounce some ideas off the wall. They do not emerge for many hours but when they do they seem elated and energized. They call a press conference and unveil a new version of their tribal sport.

So what does the new version of the Tribal game look like?

8 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams – all dressed in their own tribal gear (some of these costumes are amazing to behold!) and paraphernalia are participating. They each have troubadours and praise singers who help to add to the fanfare. The teams will play in the Tribal Championship Showdown for one intensive weekend of action, music and entertainment.

Bands of supporters attend to ensure full support for their tribal team. Most are dressed in “tribal” replica clothing – sales have been phenomenal with the Tribe earning royalties. Some very famous actors, authors, musicians, artists and politicians are supporting their tribal teams.

Organised into 2 pools of 4 each team plays 3 x 60 minute pool games. Thereafter, semi-finals and a final. The rules have been adapted to ensure non-stop action, goals galore and drama. There is no such thing as a draw. Shoot-outs decide matches if there is a stalemate! The Ringmaster (Master of Ceremonies) coordinates the entertainment, music and competitions. Children and the tribal supporters teams are involved in the ongoing entertainment and fun.

The goals are bigger. A premium is placed on field goals, the rules have been adapted to ensure flowing games, with very few stoppages except for prescribed time-out. There are interactive games and TV coverage which highlights the action and drama. Children are involved and can meet their heroes and heroines. At water/advertisement breaks, spectators come on to the field to attempt to win prizes. The captain of each team is “wired for sound” and is asked for comment at appropriate times. The same applies to the coaches and umpires.

The prize money and trophies are exceptional and the most impressive in the history of this tribal sport! There are also prizes for innovative suggestions to market and promote the tribal sport. Between games troubadours, acrobats and comedians entertain the crowds, whilst delicious food and drink is available. Parents can leave their children in the supervised “play land” and just enjoy the entertainment – without worrying – except whether their tribal team will win! Selected spectators will be invited to play in a celebrity tribal golf day together with sponsors and other celebrities.

At the end of each day’s play there is a concert and fireworks. There is also a gourmet and wine/beer/whisky village, so you can sample tribal specialties, cooked by cordon bleu Tribal chefs, who are also involved in a cooking competition. The wines, beer and whisky of the year will also be announced.

The television coverage is amazing – revolutionary for this tribal game - with cameras picking up the amazing speed, skill and action not to talk of the blood, sweat and tears! The commentators are well-known celebrities.

Apparently a movie is being made of this stunning new version of the old tribal game. That old classic “Rollerball” movie of the last century will not be a patch on this new one!! The top personalities involved are becoming instantly recognizable worldwide!!

The Tribal Elders seem pleased because the “Empire has struck back” against its competitors and interest in the Tribal game is at an unprecedented high. Sponsors and business partners are delighted.

Steve Jaspan is FIH Executive Board member and Chairman of the new FIH High Performance Committee.