Wily Fox proved he is hu­man after all

The Hockey Paper - - FEATURE -

OVER the Christ­mas period we saw a num­ber of re­tire­ments from the men’s na­tional squad.

Whilst playing for your coun­try is an enor­mous priv­i­lege that pro­vides life­long mem­o­ries, let’s not also for­get that it in­volves an in­cred­i­ble amount of sac­ri­fice, de­ter­mi­na­tion, tough­ness and re­silience.

Per­pet­ual fa­tigue, in­juries, loss of form and the per­ils of se­lec­tion are some of the oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ards that play­ers com­mit their lives to as they strive to play and win games of hockey for their coun­try.

So, a spe­cial well done to Dan Shin­gles (who has moved straight onto the chal­lenge of fa­ther­hood) as well as Ali Brog­don, Si­mon Man­tell and, of course, Dan Fox who I spent a lot of time with at Hamp­stead and West­min­ster HC.

Dan’s es­pe­cially re­mark­able jour­ney started at HWHC with my good mate and cap­tain of the sec­ond team Jimmy Mar­som, telling me his new right half from Ox­ford Univer­sity might ac­tu­ally be some­thing spe­cial.

And so it proved, with Dan prov­ing his skill, ath­leti­cism and com­po­sure at ev­ery level from sec­ond team hockey all the way onto two Olympic Games.

Well, I say com­po­sure but that ob­vi­ously doesn’t in­clude the day he had a PC awarded against him for en­croach­ing on a free hit in­side the 25.

Dan’s an­noy­ance was made all the worse when the um­pire re­fused to see the logic of a tackle made in­side the cir­cle from a free-hit taken out­side the dot­ted line.

“It’s just sim­ple maths!” Dan even­tu­ally ex­claimed, fi­nally crack­ing in ut­ter dis­be­lief and lead­ing to the only real sense of hu­mour fail­ure I’ve seen from one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

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