Here at Leeds, we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and friendly club.
We have members that are from many places in the UK, both new and returning players. However, this year we’ve gained two members who have travelled a little further than you may expect.
You may see them around the club on a Saturday, and they have already shown their desire to be part of the ‘Leeds Hockey family’ by volunteering for both the umpire course we ran at the start of September, and being two of the Social Media Team – helping with Facebook, website and many other aspects.
I thought it was time we got to know a little bit more about them, so in their own words…
“We are a couple from Christchurch, New Zealand over here to work, travel and generally experience something different. We were (and still are to some extent) heavily involved in hockey back home, having both been President of the Canterbury University club and partaken in roles from Captain, Umpire, Coach and everything in between!
Our hockey experience here is quite different to back home. In 2011 a rather large earthquake caused devastation to the Christchurch community, and its effect on the hockey turfs was not minimal.
As a result, all hockey had to be played on one turf, so playing and practice times were spread from 8am in the morning to 10.40pm at night, all different days of the week. The crazy thing was that during this time we actually managed to grow the sport within our club. From three adult teams in 2009 to 20 adult teams in 2016, when we finally left!
So It’s great here to be playing and practicing at more social times and we don’t mind travelling to far flung hockey destinations (such as Hull or Scarborough) as travel is all part of the adventure for us. We also use quite different terminology in regards to positions and structures, so if we look at you a bit strange that, is probably why. The concept of ‘teas’ is a bit bizarre, but who doesn’t love a feed after a game! The accent is also a challenge, I can never say my name with a straight face, for fear that someone genuinely believes that my name is Dib, something my New Zealand friends get a huge kick out of.
Coming to the UK it was inevitable that we would be involved in a hockey club to some extent, and coming from a club with a great atmosphere and inclusive culture these factors were at the top of our priority list.
We were attracted to Leeds Hockey by the excellent facilities, in particular the bar turf-side, and the friendly characters that we met during the Summer knockabouts. We are more than happy to have a yarn about the differences we have experienced, and I have already talked to a couple of people interested in moving to New Zealand for a couple of years, so perhaps we can arrange some sort of hockey sabbatical!
We look forward to meeting more people and happy to have a chat with anyone who wants to know more about the land of the long white cloud!”
Deb (or Dib) & Josh.