There’s no doubt about it, I’ve always loved playing sports. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to have a go and compete in as many sports as I could. Some stuck and others didn’t, but there was something about competitive sport that made me feel alive, happy, sad, angry, joyful, the list goes on. And to this day that hasn’t changed.
I guess my three main sports growing up were Judo, Hockey and Football. I loved each of them for a whole range of reasons. Having been inspired by the Karate Kid movie and with a Judo dojo two minutes from my house, I always enjoyed going along to fight in a controlled, competitive environment. Football was all about having fun with my friends at school, at the park, or for our local team. We would play for hours before returning home muddy and bruised. Hockey was a family sport for me. My dad, brother and sister all played. I started from as young as four knocking around with a ball on the side of the pitch whilst my dad played.
I chose to peruse hockey for a few reasons. I love being part of a team. Winning or loosing alongside friends and the feeling of elation or disappointment for me is ever the more intense when shared with others. The hockey club was a safe, social and comfortable environment where I could be myself. Needless to say, I experienced a lot of firsts during my time as a member of Crewe Vagrants Hockey Club.
When I took to the field, I always wanted to be the best and for a long time at a young age I thought I was. I wouldn’t say I was arrogant, but I expected to be selected for teams and to be one of the main players. I got my first England Juniors trial at 16 and was fairly confident I would make the team. When the letter came telling me I had been unsuccessful, I remember being shocked and then furious with myself for having taken the opportunity for granted. For some reason, I remember the big failures I have experienced much more vividly than the great moments of success in my life.
It took me two years to get another shot, but I was determined not to make the same mistakes. I used to drag my younger brother down to our local pitch and whack balls at him for hours. Closer to the trails, I was going for extra running and gym sessions. My hard work was rewarded and I began my international hockey career. From that moment on, my hockey career has gone from strength to strength. I learnt from an early age that the processes that really make a difference with regards to getting better at anything are pretty simple, but require attention and dedication. There’s no secret formula or training regime, only commitment and sacrifice. As long as you find something you love enough to demonstrate those values then nothing can stop you.