Back in the Day...
My cousin Casey Eastham has been named in the Hockeyroo's team for the London Olympics. Casey also played at the Beijing Olympics and has since been named in a couple of World XI teams. It will be good for the family to have both of us in the Olympics. All of my immediate family are heading over, as well as all of Casey's family, and also both of my Nan's and my aunty Kylie who's already bendering across Europe. Also my number 1 fans Uncle Doug (Colonel Sanders) and my great aunty Megan will be in London. There'll be plenty of us in town.
Hockey is definitely the number one sport on my Mum's side of the family. My mother and Casey's mother are sisters, and growing up they were both good hockey players, representing New South Wales. Because my Mum and aunty were still playing hockey when us kids were growing up, a stick and ball was never too far away.
As well as Casey, my sister Danni and Casey's brother Matt have both made junior Australian teams. Another cousin, Jack, has made junior NSW teams and even I got picked in a few junior NSW teams as a kid, before retiring as a 15 year old.
I was never a huge fan of hockey and now that I look back, I am a bit puzzled as to why Mum and Dad got me to play. I can understand why Mum did, because she understood the sport and there'd be less chance of getting hurt than playing rugby league, but my Dad really should have put his foot down and given me some sort of football. Dad was a stud rugby league player back in the day and was hard to catch, playing at fullback, in the centres or on the wing. I guess he was happy that I was playing cricket and doing athletics and was just happy enough that I was out there having a go. Good parenting I guess. To be honest though, I'll most likely end up being a pushy parent and my kid will grow up like Gerard Butler in the movie '300'.
I enjoyed hockey for the mates that it brought me and I'm still close friends with a few of the boys from my playing days. I was pretty good and was actually in the New South Wales Institute of Sport for hockey before I was in it for athletics. I think that was mainly because at some hockey testing the coach had us do a 5 lap run, and he told the group the record. I said that the time wasn't very good and I could beat it. I ended up lapping everyone and beating the time easily and was then put in the NSWIS hockey program, much to the disgust of the other boys and their mothers who were annoyed that I was only succeeding in hockey because of my running ability.
In 2006 I decided not to put my hand up for selection for the NSW team as the Australian tournament was clashing with the Australian cross country championships. To all the hockey lovers this was seen as an outrage. How could someone choose running over hockey! The coaches ended up still asking me to come along to the selection camp just in case I changed my mind, but I ended up getting sent home from the camp for urinating in a public area. It was outside and near some bins but the cleaner saw me and kicked up a stink and told the coaches. Because it was a school state team and the coaches were teachers also, they were all a bit too strict so they told Dad to drive up to Sydney and pick me up. I was ready to go anyway.