This week we feature ladies 4 player Sum Sze Tam who tells us about being welcome by Southgate HC and falling back in love with hockey- and also her love of cooking and eating!

How long have you been a member of Southgate – can you tell us a bit more about your journey through the club?

I’ve been at Southgate for about 4 years now. I started in the ladies’ 5s and have now settled in the ladies’ 4s (and a great bunch they are too!)

I’m from Hong Kong, and I was hockey-mad for most of secondary school – playing 6 days a week at times – but stopped when I came to the UK because I didn’t fit in with my university club. After graduating I signed up for Back To Hockey at Southgate. I turned up to my first session coached by Matt McDonnell, thought to myself ‘why is this guy making me throw a tennis ball at strangers’, and the rest is history.

What are the best things for you about Southgate Hockey Club?

I’m still quite salty about those few years I missed out on hockey while at university. Neither drinking or clubbing are really my cup of tea, so I wasn’t popular with the uni club members. They booted me from team to team and I lost my patience pretty quickly. Southgate couldn’t have been more different and I will forever hold the people who run the ladies’ section in high regard for creating such a welcoming and genuinely friendly environment – it’s thanks to these wonderful people that I came out of my shell and fell in love with hockey all over again. Not to mention the coaching, which is generally of a really high quality.

When not playing and training for Southgate what do you do in your non hockey life?

I love cooking and eating, particularly Chinese/Japanese/Korean food, so I spend a lot of time on making yummy things and introducing Asian recipes to my British friends. Outside of that and hockey, my third great passion in life is being a Big Nerd™. I like to play video games, watch anime, and read Webtoons. Multiplayer games I play are Overwatch and Final Fantasy XIV. For single-players, I’m going through the Yakuza series, having just finished Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Next up? The Last of Us 2.

Tell us a bit more about the Ladies 4s and how you have been getting on this season?

The ladies 4s are made up of people on a spectrum with can-do juniors at one end and seasoned veterans on the other. Our captain Hells leads the charge by striving for a really inclusive environment. It’s thanks to her that the team have hit the sweet spot between focusing on development and focusing on more serious gameplay. Our brilliant coaches Milly and Ellie have helped us improve by leaps and bounds this year, with a steadily increasing number of goals to show for it. They are encouraging us to be less ‘nice’ and amp up the aggression. Sadly much of that progress was halted by the pandemic.

How have you found the last few weeks/months in our third national lockdown- how have you been keeping fit and busy?

I have tried to pick up freestyle jump rope seeing as I don’t have the mental fortitude required to be a runner 😂 But sadly I gave myself pretty bad shin splints by overdoing it at Christmas (any tips for fixing this would be welcomed!), so since then I’ve resorted to more low-impact activities like yoga. Hockey is still the only reason I do any fitness at all so I’m definitely focusing on recovery for now.

Finally what are you most looking forward to doing when we finally get out of the lockdown?

EATING. Specifically, eating food I’m not skilled enough/can’t be bothered to make for myself. I can’t wait to have dim sum. And an Aussie brunch. And maybe handmade ramen. And Korean BBQ. And bubble tea. You get the picture…