It’s like winning lotto and having Christmas at the same time: Michael Nobbs after beating cancer

Nobbs was the former chief coach of the Indian hockey team. He represented Australian at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and was battling lung cancer.

By Naveen Peter

One of the respected names in world hockey and the former chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team, Michael Nobbs has defeated cancer.

The 66-year-old Australian was diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer in late March and had been undergoing treatment at the Macquarie University Hospital, Sydney.

In a note to the Times of India, in which he penned down his past few months, the former Olympian shared the news. “I am free of cancer - NED (No Evidence of Disease). It's like winning lotto and having Christmas all at the same time,” Michael Nobbs wrote.

“I would have loved to run and jump and scream at the top of my voice; but I’m still sore from the operation and they, unfortunately, cut a vocal chord. They can fix it (but) they said my singing days are over.”

Reflecting on his journey through the testing period, the Aussie admitted that he was heartbroken on hearing the diagnosis but he chose to fall back on the sportsman in him to see him through.

Michael Nobbs was diagnosed with an advanced stage of lung cancer.

“My world came tumbling down that moment,” Nobbs wrote. 

“All the questions: Why me? I don’t smoke, never have. What’s next? Am I going to die? How will I cope? How will I tell the girls (daughters), my friends?

“I left and sat in my car and cried and cried, I never do that. I started to make some calls and after the initial shock, I came to realise what a wonderful family and friends I had. My time as a sportsman started to say to me: It’s just another battle, albeit the stakes were rather high.”

A worthwhile journey

The treatment period also saw Michael Nobbs come across people going through a similar fight in their lives. He believes interacting with them made the journey worthwhile. 

“Sitting in chemo and radiation every day, you build a bond with many of them and a kind of support group to help each other,” the respected Aussie coach who took charge of the Indian hockey team before London 2012 shared.

“You get to realise that some of the stupid things you used to complain about or get upset about really aren’t that important. Family, friends, children, enjoy your trip through life. It could be a lot shorter than you think.”

Michael Nobbs was a member of the Australian hockey team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where the team lost the bronze medal match against Pakistan.

The Aussie tactician now hopes to look forward to seeing his daughter Kaitlin turn up for the Australian hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics next year.