Luphiwe’s journey – a day at the Boland hockey team
We are so very proud of Luphiwe Nkelinjane who has been chosen for the Shiraz Boland hockey team for the second year in a row. This is an account of a Boland training day in Luphiwe’s life:
The township of Maskhane is asleep; not even the dogs are awake yet. It is 05h30 on a Sunday morning and my alarm has just gone off. Fortunately, the whole house is asleep and no one else stirs. I quickly wash and prepare for the day of training with the selected team in Worcester. The water in the basin is freezing cold as I don’t have time to boil water this morning. I double check that I have everything that I need: my stick, my shin guards, warm clothes – everything is ready.
At 06h00 Shereen’s car stops outside my house. I haven’t had time to eat any breakfast, but as I scramble into the car, I notice that luckily she has packed some fruit and yoghurt for us to eat on the way.
The drive is very long; it takes us 2 and half hours to get to training. Training is hard but I enjoy it so much. Most of the boys are kind but I sometimes find it difficult because the coach speaks to us in Afrikaans which I don’t understand. I’m too shy to tell him that I don’t understand him so I just keep quiet and pretend that I do. After training, Shereen gives me lunch. I always look forward to this part of the day, and today we had delicious chicken.
After lunch, it is time for the long trip home again. When I get back to Masakhane, the township is awake and buzzing with people and children in the streets. Some of the young hockey boys and girls run alongside the car in excitement. It is now the middle of the afternoon and I’m really tired after a long day but I must still do my homework. My school starts exams next week and I really want to do well – it is important to me to get an education and it is so important to my parents and my grandfather too. It is hard work training for the Boland hockey team but it will be worth it. I never knew before that I had any skills in hockey until I started playing with the Football Foundation. It came as a huge surprise to my family as well but I am determined to make them proud of me, and I hope that hockey can take me to wonderful places.