I Did That…When the Ireland Men’s Hockey Team Inspired us to get Obsessed. Player Q&A

Hello from Queen B HQ, Team Captain Brid here. I like to muscle in occasionally on the blog because despite the fact that I am in no way responsible for 99.9% of the blogging on this website, I manage to get all the credit for it so I figure I’d better do something occasionally! (Sorry QueenBloggers!)

It’s Olympic year *bites bottom lip/rubs hands together* and we are all about to get heavily involved in supporting our national teams, discovering a fleeting love for sports we have never heard of and my personal favourite…becoming a bona fide expert in rhythmic gymnastics and synchronised swimming. You too? *Fist Bump*

But here’s the thing, life as a fan can make you feel helpless. Every supporter has been there. Watching the tv, you’re in the sitting room…your athlete/team wearing green…you’re in your PJs, you’re shouting, making weird noises no-one can really explain, grimacing, losing feeling in your legs and above all else…you’re helpless. Completely fecking useless to help your team that have committed their time and energies to representing themselves, club, country and you at the highest level of sport. You want everything to go right, you want it all to be worth it. As fans we can do nothing but will them over that line before everyone else, armed with only the power of our clenched fists, booming shouts and wrinkled up faces….until now.

Maybe it was years of feeling helpless while supporting our heroes but something struck a chord with us this year. A few months ago I watched the men of Hockey Ireland win a bronze medal in the European Championships. It was bloody brilliant. One of the most exciting displays of sport I have seen in a long time. I watched the team represent our country with style and play like absolute bosses (That’s technical hockey speak in case you’re wondering). But for me, I saw one of the greatest athletes this country has ever produced on the tv. This same athlete was the man, who in one of the classiest displays of the promotion of his sport, turned up to Cork Harlequins Hockey Club one Saturday two years back to give a hockey goalie clinic with Southern Fried Hockey. This man; David Harte, was awarded World Hockey Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016….and he came and coached a group of teenagers and hockey keepers of all levels (including me – I’m crap) in his free time. Not only do David and his team mates inspire us to take part. They show up! They give back to their sport in a profound and personal way and they do it at the height of their careers. When the goalie session was over I walked up to David in the carpark to thank him. I’m sure some of the people there wondered what the sweaty keeper was doing but I spend a lot of my time with elite athletes. I know what free time means to them and how they would love to be spending it with their loved ones. The man was a class act and I never forgot it.

So when we heard that they were crowdfunding to cover costs for the Rio Olympics we were drawn…no…..compelled to help in any way we could.

We Skyped Conor Harte and had a chat. And our levels of inspiration went through the roof. We were all in at this stage but speaking to Conor turned us evangelical. We knew the team were committed but the day to day sacrifices that these men are making with little to no funding to reach an unimaginable goal of participating (and we believe kicking ass) at the Olympics was nothing short of heroic.

So to the rest of the world – you know what it is to give everything to your sport and a true athlete, a true sports fan, doesn’t see nationality. They just see the dedication and they understand what that is all about. The Olympics is bigger than all of us. This is your chance.

And to Ireland we say. Stand up and make it possible. This is your chance. To watch your team and of course do the usual screaming, hair pulling out of head etc. but this time is different. You won’t have been helpless. You will have been part of the even bigger Green Army that got them there. Get involved. Get out your credit card. Give as much or as little as you like (there’s an option on the website to donate your chosen amount and every euro counts, give one, give five, just give to a team that will give you so much in Rio) and GET OBSESSED!!!!

We are giving a few of the team the Queen B platform to introduce themselves, answer some quick fire Q’s and let you know how you can help. Be warned these guys are charming, funny and an impressive bunch – prepare to become big fans!

Oh and to the ladies of Hockey Ireland. You too will get there. We know it, you know it. And you better call us when you do cuz we will bring the pain to anyone who doesn’t support you!

Finally, I speak for all of us at Queen B when I wish our National Men’s Hockey Team the very best and we are thrilled and proud that we were given the chance to donate, get them closer to Rio and became part of history in some small way. How often can you say that?!

Crowdfunding link: 

https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/obsessed/

For other ways to support including purchasing #Obsessed merchandise:

http://www.hockey.ie

 

Ireland Men’s Hockey Team Player Q&A

Conor Harte

Conor Harte

1) What is the biggest challenge about being an international athlete?
I suppose in our sport – hockey, it’s not professional here in Ireland so trying to combine work life, family life, social life and international hockey life is definitely one of the biggest challenges.

2) Apart from competing, what are you most looking forward to about Rio?
Well none of us have been selected yet, but if I was fortunate enough to be selected I imagine the whole atmosphere around the Olympics in general will be electric.

3) If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? And what are you eating?
I would love to have dinner with Conor McGregor and try get an insight into his self confidence and what truly motivates him. Naturally we will be eating whatever he is having – I imagine steak or something he eats pre UFC fight.

4) What motivates you? (A generic “to be the best” won’t suffice!!)
Breaking the mould in current Irish hockey i.e. Qualifying for major Tournaments like Olympic Games and world cups. A huge motivating factor is trying to achieve things people say I or we cannot or should not be able to.

5) Who on the squad takes the longest to get ready?
Chris Cargo !!!!!!!!!!

6) Stuck in an elevator with three people. Who are they?
Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and Billy Connolly – of course only one of these are alive but the question didn’t stipulate dead or alive!

7) Last song you listened to on your iPod?
The Frames – Fake

8) Be honest….last text or whatsapp you sent?
To my girlfriend over in Brussels where I flew home from today.

9) One way people can get involved in your fundraising?
Everything mentioned above!!! Spread the word, get behind another team in green this summer !!!

Paul Gleghorne

Paul Gleghorne

1) What is the biggest challenge about being an international athlete? 
I think all sports at international level come with their fair share of mental and physical pressures, but playing a sport which is amateur in Ireland means that balancing training and tournaments with work commitments is certainly one of my biggest challenges.  In any sport, whether amateur or professional you will be subject to a number of setbacks throughout your career.  Dealing with these setbacks is a significant challenge, and those who deal with them well are often the most successful.

2) Apart from competing, what are you most looking forward to about Rio? 
I have heard great stories of free food…

3) If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? And what are you eating? 
I often find myself really wanting to meet certain sporting, political or economic icons but I could end up being very disappointed if they don’t live up to my expectations.  So I would have dinner with my team mate Kirk Shimmins, because he never disappoints and is always good for boosting your confidence when you need.  If the nutritionist is reading then I am having chicken and vegetables, if not, I’m having a burger and chips followed by a massive dessert!!

4) What motivates you?
I have a number of things that motivate me. My biggest motivating factor is that there will come a time when I am not able to play competitive hockey anymore, and when this time comes I want to be able to look back and be satisfied with my playing career, because if you’re not there’s nothing you can do about it.  I also think the harder you have to work for something the better it feels and the more you appreciate it if you achieve it.  This is always a motivating factor for me to work hard both in sport and in general life. As hockey players we all have to opportunity to inspire people to take up or continue to play hockey, the idea of inspiring people and increasing popularity of our sport is a good source of motivation at times. Finally, you always want bragging rights over your siblings!! (Paul’s Brother Mark plays hockey for Team GB)

5) Who on the squad takes the longest to get ready? 
Kyle Good takes a while, but it’s well worth the wait! #dontrushperfection

6) Stuck in an elevator with three people. Who are they? 
Well, at the European Championships last summer I get stuck in the lift on more than one occasion (with a lot more than three people), so I can definitely rule a few people out.  I think I would want a lift maintenance worker (for obvious reasons), my 3 year old nephew because he is a good distraction and has small lungs so won’t take up too much oxygen, and Jonny Bell for lengthy discussions on current affairs (I would just be listening).

7) Last song you listened to on your iPod? 
Van Morrison – Cleaning Windows

8) Be honest….last text or whatsapp you sent? 
A “good luck” message to my girlfriend who was about to do an exam.

9) One way people can get involved in your fundraising? 
There are a number of ways to get involved in fundraising, all information available on Irish Hockey website.  We receive amazing support from the public and this is appreciated so much by everyone in the squad.  The support for the fundraising drive to date has been incredible and I hope this continues.

 

Peter Caruth

Peter Caruth

1) What is the biggest challenge about being an international athlete?
The biggest challenge is having to get the balance right between training and playing the game you love and to have a life outside of the sport. You miss so many things from birthdays to weddings to generally being with your mates and family. But these are the people that keep you sane or bring you back down to earth at the right times.

2) Apart from competing, what are you most looking forward to about Rio?
Buying a ticket to the womens volleyball …. 😉 actually just the atmosphere and buzz with other athletes gets it for me.

3) If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? And what are you eating?
I know this is a weird one but I am weird. I would love to have dinner with Vincent Van Gough. Be interesting to know why he cut his own ear off…. but also his paintings are so out there would be brilliant to know what he was on or how he came up with them. Also I think he’d be craic!

4) What motivates you? 
To prove doubters wrong. It motivated me when I was in my early teens when I didn’t get selected for under age Irish teams and I think having that drive even though the doubters are lower there is still one somewhere who doesn’t believe in your efforts to bring your strength to the team. And to that person CHEERS.

5) Who on the squad takes the longest to get ready?
Nightmare……………. that would be me I think. I always need to shower but I’m either dancing or chatting and not bothered to get ready then am always late or being told to hurry up.  Plus my long hair takes ages to dry! Haha!

6) Stuck in an elevator with three people. Who are they?
Tiger Woods; ask him what happened
Obama: ask him if Aliens exist
Beyonce: Gets awful crowded and crammed in lifts 😀

7) Last song you listened to on your iPod?
Basshunter – Now Your Gone

8) Be honest….last text or whatsapp you sent?
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ok if im honest it was to my sister Alison:
“Is it true that hippos stay afloat cause of the build up of gas in their body?? Like fart to stay afloat haaaa I just seen this on the internet. P.s hows that horrible cat of yours xx”

9) One way people can get involved in your fundraising?
We still have golf fourballs left at the Carton House this Friday….. class golf day in store and if you’re into golf this is a great way to support us.