Tag Archives: hockey

Hockey, Hiking and Homework

16 Oct

This weekend my life seemed to be dominated by the letter H.

On Friday evening, I went to hockey training for the Swiss senior hockey national team for the first time. As I have been living here for more than 5 years, I am now eligible to play for the national team.

The training itself was great. I know most of the players anyway – which isn’t hard bearing in mind how few field hockey players there are in Switzerland. The goal was to enter a tournament next years but there is some debate about if we will have enough players to enter. I hope we do. I quite fancy playing hockey in Spain for 10 days.

On Saturday, still tired from hockey the night before, I went hiking with a work colleague. Uetliberg is Zurich’s very own mountain. It’s about 800m, which in Switzerland is more like a bump in the road than a mountain. We walked up a very steep path, which starts near our office to the top.

When we started walking, it was so cloudy and misty that I was convinced that we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the top and our efforts to climb the mountain would not be rewarded.

I shouldn’t have worried. This was the view from the top:

Just beautiful and in the middle of October as well! The hike took us about 2.5 hours and the lunch of pulled pork and crusty bread that my friend had prepared for us at her house was the perfect way to refuel.

In the evening, I spent some time doing some ‘homework’. I spent a few hours working on some writing projects that I have been working on and made some good progress.

I really should have done some German homework but we have half term this week so I won’t be going to class this week on Tuesday and Thursday evening. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I will miss the lessons the following week because I will be in Singapore and then at the Basel indoor tennis quarter finals. Both were booked well in advance of me enrolling for my classes.

I actually think it will be good to have a bit of an extended break from lessons. I hope it means that when I will return I will have a new sense of purpose and renewed motivation.

It was already Sunday and time for a hockey match against Basel. It was an early start to get to the pitch for 9.30am. Normally games are after lunchtime. I woke up at the same time that I wake up for work. So much for a lie in.

The station was pretty spooky. I was the only one there and the fog made it feel like Victorian London. I was half expecting Jack the Ripper to make an appearance.

The day turned out to be really warm, far to warm to play hockey. I much prefer playing sport in the rain, rather than 20 plus degrees.

I normally write the match report for the team; it’s one of the reasons that I restarted my blog about a year ago. One of the girl, after reading the report, said that I should be a writer or a journalist. The dream from my childhood might be inching closer…

Sporting Misfortunes

29 Aug

Over the weekend I have had not one but two sporting misfortunes.

On Saturday I dragged myself out of bed early and decided to go for a long run in preparation for the half marathon that I am running in Cardiff at the start of October. I was completely mentally and physically prepared. What I didn’t take into account was that my bra strap would break after 2km!

I thought about turning back, going home and changing but I thought if I do that the likelihood that I will just stay at the apartment and not bothered doing the rest of the run would be about 100%. I hid in a bush and tried to rectify it in some way but it was no use. I did the British thing and kept calm and carried on.

Of course, I couldn’t run as fast as I normally would do but I kept going and did the distance that I wanted to. These “longer” runs that I do in the build up for the training are important in terms of distance, and not really in terms of time. Good job in this case!

It is entirely possible that I have a wardrobe malfunction on the day of the half marathon. Then I would only have the option of carrying on or stopping. It’s good training for an unexpected event on the day.

The second hiccup also involved clothing in a round-about way. I was in Luzern on Sunday to play a friendly hockey match. Push-back wasn’t until 5.30pm so I was already expecting to be home late.

After the game we discovered that we were locked out of the changing rooms. The door to the building automatically locks as soon as it is shut. The opposition hadn’t told us that we needed to bring the key with us or we wouldn’t be able to get back in. So we were outside and cold while our clothes were inside with the showers!

No one seemed to have a spare key, not even the President of the club had a key. After phoning round we called a locksmith and got a pizza delivered to the pitch. By now it was getting cold and I’m sure that I was really smelly as well.

Just before the locksmith arrived, it was discovered that a teacher who lived nearby had a key. So we avoided a hefty invoice to get in for a shower. Note to self: don’t leave anything in a changing room again.

When we finally got back inside the key was lying there on a table in the changing room. It was gone 11 by the time I got home. So much for an early Sunday night!

Being a Minority in a foreign land

24 Nov

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Being a minority in a foreign land is not easy. I’m not talking about nationality here. I am talking about being a hockey player. Hockey is not a well-known or widely-played sport in Switzerland. If you tell anyone that you are a hockey player here, people automatically assume that you mean ice hockey. When you say “No, I don’t play ice hockey”, they think that you must play unihockey (I have no idea what unihockey is apart from a game played indoors with a plastic stick and is very popular). Hockey, my hockey, is neither of these.

There are only 9 ladies teams playing competitively outdoors in Switzerland. This is such a huge change for me. In England, there are between 10 and 12 team competing in each league. The league is made up of local, regional and national leagues and games are played every Saturday up and down the country from late August until March.

With 9 teams in the whole of the country, this doesn’t happen here. Games are spread out one game every two weeks (or even longer between games) and we play each team once. At the end of the round robin stage, the teams are divided into the National League A and National League B. The teams play each other once again in the league and then the champions of the A and B leagues are crowned.

It is hard to adjust to the routine of not playing so often. This routine was my life for the majority of my childhood and my adult life.

On the plus side, this means that I am finally able to say that I am playing National League level hockey, which even when I was a lot younger was only pipe dream. People are so impressed when you say that you play a sport at a national level – I really need to stop pointing out that this is only because there are 8 other teams to play against so local and regional leagues are made redundant.

It does mean that you don’t have to feel guilty because there are breaks in between games and I can go away and enjoy doing other activities, like holidays, and can still commit to playing when the games come around. I feel that this gives me a more balanced approach to life and means that I enjoy my hockey all the more because there are only a limited number of times I can play competitively during a season.

Another plus point is that the season runs from August until the end of October and then resumes in March until June. In the interim period, the game moves indoors because of the weather. So, theoretically, the weather shouldn’t be too hot or too cold or too wet to play outdoors.

Indoor hockey is a completely different game with different rules and I am a novice. At the moment, it seems like it might not be my sport: the ball never goes out of play because of the barriers (I am not fit enough by far) and the ball can’t be lifted off the ground (this is the trick I used when I am lazy and have no energy to run around an opponent).

I am sure that I will get the hang of it in the end and something that improves fitness and ball control for the remainder of the outdoor season can only be a good thing!