Earning the Jersey: Part 1-Embracing the Challenge

This moment feels surreal.

Jersey on. Shinguards on. Shoes on. Pregame rituals done.

Walking out the tunnel, you can feel the adrenaline in all your teammates. You enter the arena with bright lights. Shining on you. You. How did you get here? All your life you saw players streaming down the field with pace and skills you thought superhuman. You’ve dreamt about how it must feel to be on the pitch, and what an honor it would be to play for you country. In the crowd of 15,000 fans roaring with excitement, there is a young child who has the same dream.

How did you get here? Where did it start? It started with your love for the game. A passion that you never gave up on, that you were willing to sacrifice for, that carried you abroad to grow and build as a player. A passion that brought you to the highest level of the game… you are about to play in the Field Hockey World Cup.

A passion you were willing to sacrifice for.

Unlike footballers, hockey stars can’t retire from a few seasons of huge salaries, regardless of how many records they break. They’re paid in passion for the game they’ve loved and mastered.

The mental strength and dedication it takes to make it to the international level can feel impossible. People often point to the hundreds of hours spent in the gym and on the pitch – but this is often the easiest part. Even the strict diet is a mild sacrifice because it directly impacts your athletic performance.

A passion that carries you abroad.

The sacrifices for make for hockey don’t only translate to the field, the discipline you build will carry you to new heights off the pitch…eventually. The crazy practice times and the irregular week-long overseas tours are exhilarating. But it’s a constant battle of pausing your career for an amateur sport and loving your family across the thousands of miles. You might miss holidays, weddings, gatherings, and spending quality time with your friends. It’s great to travel all over the world, but sometimes it feels like you’re only in a hotel room or on the pitch. At the end of all of this, there is no guarantee you will be selected for the tournament you dream of. But it doesn’t matter, because these are the memories you will keep forever.

Your journey is unique to you.

Every team and every athlete’s journeys look different. We spoke with elite players from Australia, Belgium, Argentina, France, and South Africa to see how they’ve balanced their lives and play while training for the 2018 Hockey World Cup.

Different National Teams are supported to different extents and have different training regimens, Hardik Rai #15 for India  for example told us “Our Indian National Team trains about 345 days in a  year. Every month we have national training camp in banglore.  Hockey is our job and we don’t do any other work.” On the other extreme is South Africa National Team who are fully self-funded. 

Tom Craig, an Australian hockey player, understands the “choices” and sacrifices every player encounters. While each player has a journey of their own, every player is unified by the joy of the game.  Players swap stories about their worldwide adventures and become ‘brothers’ born from the amazing game. They all recommend everyone to follow that ultimate, seemingly impossible, somewhat crazy dream to enter that stadium. No matter the pitch you play on, every time the whistle blows you know this was your destiny.

Do what you think you can’t do.

So if hockey runs in your veins, if there’s even the smallest part of you that can’t let go of the adrenaline rush…Take the chance. You won’t regret experiencing the journey that can take you across oceans and continents.

Maybe the World Cup is your ultimate goal. Maybe you aren’t ready to put your stick down. No matter what level you think you can or can’t achieve. We can help you get there. Join Uru Sports today and begin writing your story and unleash your passion!

 

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