The Cambridge dictionary defines courage as “to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in”.
In 2014, I was Head Coach of the Canterbury Cavaliers hockey team and we brought out Simon Orchard from Australia to play for the team. Simon had won gold medals at two World Cups and two Commonwealth Games, and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. These achievements were amongst many other stellar contributions for the Australian Kookaburras hockey team – in short he is an Australian hockey legend. He was one of the most brilliant players that I have ever had the privilege to coach on the field and to get to know off the field. As much as I admire Simon as a hockey player (and I was in total awe of his hockey skills), I admire him even more as a person. The reason for writing this article is Simon always shows courage and is never afraid to stand up for what he believes is right.
Since retiring from hockey, Simon has been a journalist, writing articles that are open, honest, confronting and make compelling reading. Simon has written about mental health, homophobia in sport, changes needed in the Australian hockey high performance environment and realities of life after elite sport. One of the quotes he used from Jim Hightower in an article is something I am trying to live by “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow”.
I’m in regular contact with Simon, he has become a great friend, and in a recent phone call we discussed that anxiety was a real concern amongst teenage sports people. Simon subsequently arranged for the Australian men’s hockey team to sign a playing shirt of his and sent this to me so that we could use his shirt in teams that I was involved with. This act of kindness sums Simon up to me – he always thinks of others. Respect.
For the youth team I am coaching (Carlton-Redcliffs Under 15 girls’ hockey team), we present Simon’s shirt each week to the “Most Outstanding & Courageous Player”. I want to coach hockey and live my life in a way that encourages people to push boundaries and try new things. Never be afraid of trying your hardest at something you’re scared of potentially failing, embrace failing and learn from it, so that you can then grow from the experience. Not trying or going with the flow is failure. Simon taught me this.
So I encourage everyone to follow Simon’s example and stand out from the crowd, don’t conform, embrace failing and learn from it and most of all show courage for your convictions.
- Andrew Hastie
In loving memory of Ben Orchard