In a break from tradition we are this week featuring an entire family- who have all been making a name for themselves in our weekly lockdown hockey challenges Strava. Here dad Simon and his children Goo, Olly and Alex tell us about playing hockey in their back garden, their ambitions to play more together on the pitch and Goo’s ambitions to play for GB (or Middlesex!) 

Simon Holmes

I tried Back to Hockey in the summer of 2015, mainly to see what my children (in the Junior section) were learning and to give it a go again after 20 years. I then played my first game for the Tankards in October 2015 – which annoyingly clashed with England vs Australia in the rugby world cup. Still, I scored a very lucky goal where I bounced the ball off 3 of the opposition defenders before slotting it past a startled keeper, sparking celebrations from all of our team except Mike Fitter – who duly reminded me that I would never score a goal like that again and not to get carried away. I have certainly taken that advice to heart.

I have played every season since that match in October 2015. I had played at school though rugby was my main sport – in hockey I was a enthusiastic member of the 3rd XI, relegated each weekend to the grass pitches by the better teams.

All 3 kids now play at Southgate (see below). My wife Kate has been invited to give Back to Hockey a go on many occasions but has so far remained steadfast as a non-player and I think that will not change – though feel free to encourage a club-wide petitioning.

In terms of seeing the kids improve, I have enjoyed watching them develop each year through the junior section, and I fully expect all of them to surpass my efforts as they continue to develop. I had been using my slight edge on speed to stay ahead of them, but based on their efforts in our SHC Strava contests, I won’t have that in the bag for much longer.

Juggling a weekend of SHC hockey with all our games is certainly a challenge, as I am sure any of the parents of the Juniors will agree. However, now that Alex is playing in the Adults section for the East Hockey League teams, I am looking forward to playing in the same team as he is, which will certainly help on the travel planning. 

For me the priority has to be for them to have fun. Team sports are a great way to have a lot of fun with your team mates, and I hope they continue to enjoy it enough to play throughout their lives. 10 year old Goo (aka Annabelle) seems very keen to play for Great Britain at hockey and England at cricket so I hope those dreams will keep her on the straight and narrow in the teenage years ahead. 

I still really enjoy the camaraderie of the various East Hockey League throughout the season – I find it inspiring that we have teams with players ranging in age from 13 to over 80 who can all get along well on the pitch – though at times the younger players seem the more mature members of the team, judging by the numbers of times certain captains have been offered a mandatory period of meditative contemplation.

I enjoy the opportunity to compete each week and experience the highs of winning and the disappointment of losing, which seem to be coming in more equal measure after several years of promotion from the very lowest levels of the national hockey pyramid. I am very much looking forward to playing in the same team as my son, and would love to have the same opportunity to play with my daughters as well in a mixed hockey team at an appropriate level (i.e. not too much skill required). Finally, the various socials and end of season dinners have been great fun, and I am sure we all look forward to making up for lost time when we are allowed to meet again, on and off the pitch. 

Annabelle (Goo) Holmes

From where I started out at Southgate, so far I haven’t gone through many ranks but if you count age groups then I have through the U8s and U10s but currently, I am in U12s.

I have never played in a team with my dad but I have played with him at home and we just practice our hockey skills.

I really enjoy being part of a hockey family but on a Saturday my Dad will be quite busy because he normally has a hockey match to go to and on Sundays, he spends lots of time at the hockey club because of my and Alexs’ training. 

I have really enjoyed lockdown but I am really missing hockey and other sports. I also love spending time with my family. There is no hockey rivalry and we all just get along and have fun together. 

Some of my hockey ambitions are to play for GB or at least Middlesex!

Alex Holmes

I started off as a defender quite a few years ago. I haven’t really changed positions much/at all but now I have made my way into the Tankards. Exciting!  

 In the Tankards I have been lucky enough to play with my Dad, Simon, and it has been very fun. I get to play with him in mix-ups as well, and it’s good because I beat him on a regular basis.  

Being part of a hockey family is good because we all talk about the same thing and can do it together, but sometimes it can be a bit stressful, with hockey on almost all days of the week!  

After playing so much hockey,to be honest that is perhaps why it was nice to have a small break during lockdown, but I still managed to practise in the garden.

As regards rivalries in the family…spending more time with each other in lockdown and playing together more than usual in lockdown might have meant more sibling rivalry for some, but mostly it was kept to a minimum in our family, though I can’t say there was never any!   

My hockey ambitions are to continue playing in the tankards, and be a good defender.   

Olly Holmes

I started off with no experience in the U12s, and soon found my place as a midfielder. I recently transitioned to playing with the ladies. which I am really enjoying.

I have played a few times with my dad at Back to Hockey, but I am unable to play with either him or Alex as there are no mixed leagues (which is something I would like to change!)

I appreciate the fact that most of us have one thing in common (hockey), but it can get quite hectic when everyone has either fixtures for the club, school, or both!

I am definitely looking forward to lockdown ending as I miss hockey, school, and other people, but we did manage to play a few matches in the garden, and although the others don’t seem to want to admit it, I think there is definitely sibling hockey rivalry which reveals itself during matches!

Unlike Goo, hockey is not the main priority in my life as I play it just for fun, so my ambition is probably just to carry on playing with the ladies.