This week we are returning to Relatively Speaking with a great piece written by mother daughter combo Karen and Megan. Read below how Karen to SHC via the Walker Ground and Hampstead and Westminster, summer hockey and the ladies 5’s. Megan reveals how she’s been keeping sane in lockdown (Wednesday night SHC quizzes!) but also tells us about playing her with Mum and how much she is looking forward to returning back to the club in a few weeks.
My first encounter with SHC was playing against them in the 1990’s at the Walker Ground. I had joined Hampstead & Westminster HC after moving to London and spent five happy seasons in their Ladies’ 3s before ‘retiring’ in 1998. I also played summer festivals with International Student House, regularly touring to Wimbourne in Dorset which some of the older players may recall? When I next came across SHC it was through Megan. A keen footballer already, I wanted to see whether she would take to hockey. Did she ever! From the first drop-in session aged 11 she was buzzing. In her first full season the U12s went to Belgium on tour and I was excited to hear that there would be a parents’ match – but a bit worried after 20 years out, so I came along to SHC Back to Hockey to see if I could still hold a stick and run.
Back to Hockey was the most welcoming and encouraging environment (for participants at every level), it was a real joy and the hockey started to come back. However when I played the parents’ match in Belgium I was way too enthusiastic and had to have physio the following week!
Deciding to stick with tennis, I dabbled infrequently in Back to Hockey but when Megan was eligible, we both played Summer League hockey and had a real ball! It was such a delight for me to play alongside Megan and even have her play behind me and direct me! The following season she and I played for the 5s and occasionally the 4s, where we felt very welcomed and got to know some wonderful players.
Our weekends are very much taken over by SHC with a large percentage spent at Trent Park. If possible on Saturdays Simon and I watch Megan’s match as well as playing my 5s match provided there is no clash. On Sundays some or all of us are at Southgate early for junior coaching and U16 matches. Although Simon doesn’t play hockey he is no.1 supporter and can be regularly seen (and heard) at SHC, normally in running kit and often with beer in hand. He is both Megan’s biggest fan and biggest critic, he hasn’t missed a match and has learned a lot about hockey in the last 4 years! He gets more nervous than I do watching Megan and is very proud of her progress. Megan’s brother Adam is supportive from afar and has only watched once or twice, with his football taking priority.
My proudest moment was watching Megan’s first senior goal playing away for the Ladies 4s vs Twickenham. Sadly she wasn’t present to see my first goal of this century because we now play for different teams, so I may have slightly embellished the story!
Above all I have found SHC to be an excellent club with talented coaches, welcoming to all, nurturing and very well-organised; from Tuesday drop-in for juniors, to the outstanding junior training, ladies section and the fantastic welcome I received in B2H and Summer League. I look forward to many seasons playing and supporting at SHC!
I first started playing hockey when I was 11 years old at the Southgate drop-in sessions on Tuesdays. My mum had often been talking about how she used to play. I went to my first session after school one day and the rest was history. I used to play football from a young age so I was able to transfer some skills across positionally which made up for my lack of skill back then.
A year later I officially joined the club and moved into Martin’s U12s. The season after, my confidence and skills started to build while being coached by Michelle. As well as this my love for hockey grew immensely; so by the time I was in my second season of U14s I was extremely happy playing for the A’s.
It was also in my second year of U14s that I started playing for the ladies. I played for the 5s and played with my mum in quite a few matches often playing on the same wing together. Playing on a pitch together is very fun and almost feels slightly strange to be passing the ball to my mum.
I now help coach the U8s on Sundays before having my own U16s session which is so much fun. Sundays are probably my favourite day as I get to spend so much time at SHC. There will be some weekends where I spend around half a day there from playing and watching on Saturdays to coaching and training the next day which is pretty much my idea of heaven!
Lockdown has been very rough with lots of my social life at the club not happening but fortunately our U16s has been doing weekly zoom calls as well as the amazing pub quiz every Wednesday. It has also meant that I’ve been needing to go for runs to keep up with fitness. And as someone who’s not too keen on running, I can say that I am very excited for when the club opens back up. My ambitions moving forward are to develop my confidence and coaching skills and to progress to higher teams in the ladies section.