The popularity of hockey as a sport at Jeppe High School for Boys is as high as it has ever been, and although the season has just started, the teams are performing well and looking forward to another good season.
That’s the word from the school’s director of hockey, Mr Bryan Hillock, who acknowledges that there are many people who contribute to the sport’s success story.
“Quite apart from the hard work put in by the coaches, and the dedication and passion of the players, we have an active Hockey Patrons Association (HPA) who are constantly working to raise the extra money we need to keep what is a very expensive sport going,” he said.
The latest initiative, arranged by parent Leyla Smook, is an example of the lengths people are prepared to go to ensure that hockey players at the school have what they need to succeed.
Mrs Smook asked Peter Nel of the company Duxbury Networks to help with hockey sticks for boys whose families could not afford them. He was happy to do so and the upshot was that 10 sticks and bags were bought from Malik and they were given to 10 players who were identified as needing them.
“The recipients play for a mix of teams, so level of ability was not the criteria,” Mr Hillock explained. “We looked at financial need, but also at attitude and passion for the game and the school.”
There is a culture of generosity in the hockey section at Jeppe. Every year, at the awards dinner, boxes are put out to be filled with second hand kit by the players who are leaving school, and by those who are staying and have extra stuff they don’t use.
“I have a store room with boots, sticks, pads etc and we hand them out to needy players wherever necessary,” Mr Hillock said.
And, with that, he had to rush to the school shop to buy a tracksuit for a player who didn’t have one, with money provided by the HPA.