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Deecke, who plays for the Delhi Waveriders, is one of the three German players in the Hockey India League. For a team which is two-time regining Olympic champion, Germany appears to be under-represented in the league. Australia, which finished third in the London Olympics, has 19 players across five teams. Silver-medallist Hollland has nine.
Deecke agrees. "Only four of us put our names forward for the auction. Perhaps, it's because Germans generally want to play safe. They want to make sure everything is organised well. So maybe they waited to see how it went before taking a plunge."
But there could be another reason, he says, that most didn't simply have time. "In Germany, hockey doesn't earn you a livelihood. Therefore, everyone is either working or studying. Since our Olympic preparations cost us a lot of time, they are, perhaps, making up for that time: at work or at the university."
Although he doesn't work anywhere as yet, Deecke is studying sports economics at the University of Cologne. After the Olympics, he went to Spain to play hockey, but his real objective was to learn a foreign language — in this case Spanish — to add to his professional resume. " I had never lived in any other country, so I wanted to go there, learn their language and experience their culture, and hockey helped me do that," he says.
It's Deecke third time in India. He played a four-nation Gold Cup in Punjab in 2009 and then the FIH World Cup in Delhi in 2010. He says unlike many other foreign players, the Indian experience hasn't overwhelmed him. "It's very different from Germany, but I knew what to expect: crowd, traffic and chaos. I knew the basics, they have served me right."
Which is why his craziest India experience this time was the one that happened to him on December 17, 2012, when he was still in Spain. "It was auction day. We woke up early and following it on YouTube. It was pretty surreal. The whole idea of the auction was foreign to me. I mean you hear animals getting auctioned, how often do humans go under the hammer? It was very interesting. Obviously, I expected to fetch more bids, but went for my base price of $2,50,00 (Rs 13,413,875 approximately)."