My fantastic Europe Adventure
Contributed by Pip Mannix
Pip Mannix has just returned from her three-week tour with the Australian Under 17 All Schools Hockey Team of Europe. She wrote this piece to say thanks and share some of her experience with the community.
“How fantastic it is to be able to travel overseas because of the sport you love. At the end of May we flew out of our respective States and met in Singapore to travel as a team to the Netherlands and begin our European tour as the Australian U17 All Schools Hockey teams. We spent four days in Haarlem where we went to the Anne Frank House, on a canal cruise and played two games against two club teams. The hockey facilities at these clubs were amazing and it was a surreal feeling to be in a country where hockey is the number one national sport and nearly everyone plays or has played the game.”
“We were extremely lucky to get in a training session with Alyson Annan, an Australian hockey player who in 1999, was named the best women’s player in the world and now coaches the Netherlands women’s team, who are ranked number one in the world.”
“We then headed to Belgium to watch a hockey Pro League game, Belgium V Great Britain, the atmosphere was awesome. We visited a number of WW1 memorial sites – Tyne Cot, Polygon Woods, Flanders Field museum, an evening service and wreath laying ceremony at Menin Gate memorial Ypres, the Sir John Monash museum – it was a very emotional couple of days that made us all feel very proud to be Australian and very grateful for our way of life and the things we take for granted.”
“We then drove to Amiens, France, where we played our first international game against the French U18 teams, the boys drew one all and the Aussie girls won six - nil. It was an awesome feeling lined up on the field singing the national anthem for the first time.”
“Next stop Strasburg, the history in these cities and the architecture is amazing, something that really needs to be seen, you cannot describe it.”
“We had another very emotional day with a visit to Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp which mainly held political deportees and resistance fighters and is well known for the experiments that were carried out there on the inmates, seeing the buildings and reading the stories was horrifying.”
“Off then to Mannheim for the 4 Nations Whitsun Tournament. We had two warm up games against Germany interspersed with a trip to Heidelberg castle which is more than 800 years old.
“The Tournament was three days of fantastic hockey between Australia, the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland with the Aussie boys winning the gold and girls the bronze. The Dutch and German girls were too good for us on the day, but we certainly learnt how they like to play the game and made some great new friends. Considering that the other teams had been training regularly this year, the Germans twice a week, and we only just met each other in Singapore the week before, we were very happy with how we played.”
It was a fantastic experience and I’d like to thank everyone who helped make it possible for me to go on such an awesome trip. A special shout out to my coaches Mrs Georgiou and Pete Shae and my ever-supportive parents, thank you.”
Congratulations Pip! What an adventure, we look forward to your next accomplishment in the hockey world.