Smith continues family sport tradition
Belinda Smith is a hockey player through and through.
She’s third generation - both her parents and her grandfather were avid players in their time.
The 25-year-old Onehunga resident is also loyal to Sommerville Hockey, a club which her family has played in for many years.
On September 17, Smith earned her 100th cap for the Auckland National League team after debuting in 2009.
‘‘Playing at that level is an emotional roller coaster,’ she says.
‘‘It felt really special to get through all that I have and get to play my 100th cap.
‘‘It’s been about 20 years since I started playing hockey...in no way was it pushed on me but it did seem to click straight away.
‘‘I tried every sport under the sun but always enjoyed playing hockey.
‘‘Being a team sport means you get to play, learn, and experience the sport with others.
‘‘It is also a game that is forever changing and every game requires a new game plan, it keeps you on your toes mentally and especially physically. The constant challenge drives me.’’
She started off as striker like her father but is now comfortable as a defender on the turf.
‘‘I think my competitiveness, desire to learn, stay as fit as I can and be a part of a team that wants to succeed has meant I have been around for a while now.
‘‘Every year is a completely different team which means it is an entirely new experience - it is never repeated.
‘‘I think when it becomes something that doesn’t excite or drive me I will stop but until then I will continue to enjoy every campaign.’’
Smith has been a part of the New Zealand Black Sticks development side for four years.
She recently returned from playing premier league in England for the Reading Hockey Club.
‘‘I would love to play as long as I can and as long as I feel that I am up to the challenge.
‘‘Even if I only continue to play club but I will also always put everything towards the Auckland side.
She says hockey is the best sport she’s ever played.
‘‘It is so important for kids of any age to at least get to try hockey. It is so similar to other sports but it is often forgotten.
It is team-oriented, fast paced and really gets you using your brain.’’
Belinda Smith, with ball, earned her 100th cap for the Auckland hockey side this month.