Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hockey Social: Brendan Creed on Heath Ledger, yellow trainers and embracing sport

In a regular anything goes Q&A, we speak to players and coaches on topics ranging from temptations, influences, fashion sense and match teas. This week: Great Britain international Brendan Creed

At home

What was your earliest ambition?
I guess I never really had an ambition. I’ve loved sports since I was a little one and have always enjoyed team sports in particular. So I guess my answer is to go as far and explore as much as I can.

The event that altered the course of your life and character…
I was bullied in primary school, mainly because I was good at sports. It’s a tough thing to get your head around as a youngster and so the only places I felt safe were on a sports pitch or at home; places I knew I could express myself freely without fear.

You wouldn’t know it, but I’m very good at … cooking and over the lockdowns I learnt I am quite good at Mexican food.

The book that means the most to you?
Oooooo, the book question, I always struggle on these… I would have to say Do No Harm by Henry Marsh. I guess it gives you understanding into the mind of a brain surgeon; an absolute genius within his craft but also a human and the way he humanises being a surgeon is both enlightenining and inspiring.

The film you can watch time and time again
I have watched A Knight’s Tale over and over again. I could watch Heath Ledger films all day; a Rom Com with a fair bit of action. British humour, bold characters and a gripping storyline. What more do you want?!

Club social

I wish I had never worn… my bright yellow adidas trainers. I get a lot of jip for wearing those.

The biggest temptation you wish you could resist is… Crisps. I am an absolute fiend for a packet, expecially NikNaks. Truly phenomenal!

What would be your priorities if you were the Invisible Man for a day?
I would arrive at Heathrow in the terminal and choose either an Asian or Oceanic destination and hop on that plane. There’s surely going to be a spare seat or two on there. You never know, might even sneak First Class…

Most memorable moment you’ve witnessed on the pitch?
It would have to be Mark Gleghorne’s goal at the 2017 EuroHockey Champs to put us 3-2 up against Germany in the bronze medal match.

It was a europhoric moment and one that I will always look back with fond memories as the tournament was where we really found out who we were as a new group. One that had only been with each other for eight months.

Best after match tea?
It has to be at Bowdon HC. Sunday games followed by a sunday roast. Absolutely belting!

Where did you dream about going to most during 2020’s lockdown?
I really wanted to go to New Zealand; a country that has dealt with coronavirus incredibly well (no surprises there). I have always wanted to travel through both islands so it only made me want to go there more throughout the lockdowns!

In hockey

The person who has influenced you most in hockey?
My parents. Not through anything other than love and freedom. They have never pushed me to go to anything or turn up to anything that I didnt want to. They offered opportunities and supported myself through the good and the bad; and for that I will be ever grateful.

What has been your happiest moment to date?
My BUCS University gold medal with Sheffield Hallam – 16 guys who weren’t expected to do anything did the unthinkable. An incredible year topped off with an amazing final!

My saddest moment would be being selected as a travelling reserve for the World Cup 2018 and being handed a shirt that unfortunately I would never get to wear. That experience was pretty tough to take but I am thankful as, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

What two changes would you make in hockey for the better?
More effort and resorces put into clubs rather than school hockey and people within hockey making the changes themselves. The first one, I believe we lose a lot of juniors within the school/club boundary and schools have far too much impact upon a child’s hockey career when they could have access to a potentially higher stand of play and coaching at clubs. In my opinion, having been to Millfield School and not getting the opportunities I was promised, the state grammar school that I went to was the perfect place for myself and my hockey as it allowed freedom for myself to choose where and what I wanted to do.

Brendan in action against Germany PIC: World Sport Pics / England Hockey

Secondly, hockey has an incredible amount of people who simply would state problems and not solve the problems. I would love for people to diagnose the problem and then look for solutions and ways in which we can help the sport grow rather than simply grumble amd moan at the powers that be. If you want change, go about making change yourself!

What is your best coaching tip you impart to juniors?
“Understand why you play and own it”. What I mean by this is if you’re playing because you love being part of a team, then embrace that; if you love playing because you love the sport, embrace it! It’s cool to care!

The prized possession you value above all others?
I’ve never been a particularly materialistic individual. In terms of hockey, I won’t play a match without my gumshield. Its a neccessity. If I don’t have it, then I won’t play. This is why I normally have two or three in my bag at any one time, just in case one gets lost.

What drives you on?
Growth and passion. I have learnt so much about myself within the past five years being on the GB programme. It has been a tough few years with injuries and learnings but I wouldn’t change any of that as I have made sure I learn from each event. Passion is just something I bring. Whether it’s coaching little’uns, teenagers or adults, I love this sport. It gives me purpose, it gives me enjoyment and ultimately it’s what I love. Why wouldn’t I want to share the sport I love with the world?

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