A player that I have had the privilege of following over the last few years as he has progressed through the ranks of school boy hockey in the Western Cape, recently posted his story about his journey from childhood dream, to playing for the national side. I think it is a brilliant story, and once again confirms my thinking that this boy has got what it takes to play for the national side – he has the talent, but more importantly, it looks like he has the perfect mental attitude as well. We will continue to hold thumbs for youngsters like Che & Dayaan and hopefully we get to see lots more of players like them in the Green & Gold in the future.
Take a read what Che February had to say about his journey.
THE ROAD TO MY SA MENS DEBUT
I’m not really one for writing blogs or essays but after seeing a post by my current role model Thomas Briels of the Belgium National hockey team, I’ve decided to share a story of my own. You may enjoy it or you may not, either way I suggest you read on.
I am a first year Sports Psychology student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The other day I was sitting in my room at res (because res life is SO much fun) and I was
scrolling through Instagram. I came across a photograph of Thomas Briels the Belgium Men’s hockey captain and Arthur De Sloover another current Belgium hockey player. The post was about Arthur when he was a little boy he went to go watch the Belgium national team play. After the game he asked Thomas if he could have a photograph taken with him. Today Arthur plays along side his role model Thomas in the Belgium national team and Thomas is his captain. Yea how flipping crazy right !!!
For some reason I sat thinking about my own situation and realised I have the exact same story yet I never actually realised it myself.
I was in grade six when the South African Men’s hockey team took on Great Britain in Stellenbosch Cape Town. I watched the game with massive eyes and excited to watch the best players in South Africa were right in front of me! I could not believe it. As in Arthur’s case, after the game I decided to ask a couple of the stand out players if I could take a photo with them, and politely they agreed. To mention names, Austin Smith, Justin Reid Ross, Lloyd Norris Jones and Marvin Harper were the players I took photos with. I can still remember all of them telling me if I work hard one day I will also be able to wear the Green and Gold.
Fast-forward and some 7 years later here I am, first year at University sitting with my first National men’s cap at the age of 19. Interesting enough I got my debut along side some amazing South African Men’s players such as Jonty Robinson, Rhett Helkett and Tim Drummond who were all playing in the SA team when I watched them in Stellenbosch.
To add on to this story, not only did I receive my debute with these players but I also received it in my hometown, Cape Town against Belgium. In this game I also played against my role model Thomas Briels. It was strange when I found myself been asked by little bright eyed kids for my signature and pose with them for a photo as I remember being in their shoes and so overwhelmed by the players in front of me.
My point as you can see is that behind all of this, is that the people you look up to today may very well become your team mates or rivals in the not too distant future. However, the process to get there is a journey that tests your passion, it is one of hard work, belief, commitment and understanding. The road to national level is not a sprint but rather a healthy walk. What excites me most as I sit here typing this up is that I know my road has many kilometers ahead and I’ve got to walk it all the way because this is only the beginning.