Wily Fox proved he is human after all
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.