Meet Stephanie Kershaw- at just 4 years old Stephanie started playing hockey in her hometown of Townsville. She was then selected by the QAS to move to Brisbane after school in 2013 to train and in 2015 she was selected to start training with the Hockeyroos in Perth. Unfortunately due to an injury in 2015, Stephanie was put out for the whole 2016 season and this mean’t she missed the Olympics.
#SheSociety got the chance to ask Stephanie some questions on her beginnings in hockey and how she got to where she is today.
Why did you start playing Hockey?
I started playing hockey in my home town of Townsville up in North Queensland because my Dad is a long time hockey player and both my brother and sister played, so I just followed suit and joined in wherever I could.
What drew you to the sport?
What drew me to the sport initially was my family as we would spend all day Saturday at the grounds both playing and watching each other. As I grew up a bit I was pulled in a few different directions as far as sport went but hockey always drew me back in because of how challenging it was and how creative you could be with your skills. The game is ever changing and you can’t rely on only being fast or fit or skilful or game smart – you need all the different aspects in order to really do well.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement will always be my debut. It was something I worked incredibly hard for and gave up a lot for. I moved from Townsville to Brisbane to Perth in order to chase the dream and left a lot behind in the different cities including family and friendships.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have ever received is probably from my Queensland coach Des King. It was the quote: “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.
Do you believe you’ve sacrificed a lot to get to where you are today?
I believe I have sacrificed a lot but nothing that I didn’t want to or deem necessary to give up in order to play for my country. As an athlete you obviously have to give up a lot of your social time as you need the right sleep and nutrition and you just can’t be out all the time doing what a normal 22 year old would be doing. The thing thats been the hardest for me would be giving up a lot of family time and being so far away from my parents, siblings and friends. Hockey Australia is based in perth so moving your life across the other side of the country isn’t the easiest thing to do but is necessary if you want to be a part of the Hockeyroos.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Commonwealth Games?
I’m looking forward to hopefully going haha – the team for us doesn’t get announced until March 10th so we still have a bit of a wait on our hands. If I do get selected I’m really looking forward to being apart of the Australian team as a whole and supporting not only my hockey team mates but everyone in team Australia. It will be an eye opening experience for me as it will be the first big multi sport event and getting a medal would be an absolute dream.
Since this Q&A, Stephanie has been chosen to be apart of the Australian team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast next month.
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.