My life as a UELSports Scholar

Happy New Year Everyone! (Better late than never as they say)

 It’s 10pm on Sunday night now and I’ve just done the weekly 3 hour drive down to London. I started back at UEL last week – it was strange being in the lecture theatre again having had two whole months off over Christmas.

 Although the academic semester has only just begun, my tennis year began on January 2nd . I was lucky that the first tournament of 2013 was in my home city of Sheffield – at the very tennis centre I first picked up a racket… 18 years ago! It’s rare that I get the opportunity to play matches in Sheffield so I was excited when I saw this tournament on the schedule. I love waking up at home on match days and being able to sleep in my own bed each night. It was a pleasure to play a tournament in front of a local crowd. Some of my friends and family came to support, which I really appreciated. I played some great tennis and the week ended brilliantly with me picking up my first title of 2013.

The following three weeks I played tournaments in Birmingham, Glasgow and Preston where I ended up losing to the same player 3 weeks in a row! The first week I played her in the semi final, the following week we were drawn to meet in the last 16, and the final week, as I had predicted, we were drawn against each other in the very first round! It’s funny how sport often throws you the same test until you pass it. I have beaten that player a number of times in the past, but having lost these three times, I am sure I’ll be given that test again soon, and will continue to be given it, until I find a way to pass it again!

The week in Preston wasn’t finished yet. What should have been an hour and a half drive home after the doubles semi final on Friday turned into a 7 hour drive and one hour walk after having to abandon my car in the middle of Sheffield because of a blizzard! I’m not sure if any of you have heard of a road called The Snake Pass. It is a 14 mile, narrow, windy road across the Pennine hills. It is always the first road to get closed when it snows. It is also where I had to get rescued by Police because they closed the road at both ends whilst I was driving on it that night. It was a nightmare. I had to stop and pull over because a lorry that had attempted to do a U-turn had got stuck in a ditch and was blocking the whole road off. In the time it took the lorry to be towed away, it had snowed so much that I had to be helped by two Policemen just to get my car off the verge and turn round to drive back towards Manchester. When I eventually got onto the motorway that too was covered in snow. The fastest I saw anyone drive during the next 5 hours was about 20 mph! I saw two cars crash into barriers, one of which was on the M1, and I ended up having to abandon my car in Sheffield city center, as did 99% of other people trying to drive home that night. I left Preston at 5pm, and arrived home at 1am, car-less!

Anyway, back to now… I am studying two modules this semester – Sports Psychology and Sports Management. I am hoping that I will find Psychology especially interesting, as I have worked with a number of sports psychologists in the past and am looking forward to linking the practical experience I have on a tennis court with the theoretical side of the subject.

In terms of tennis, I have the BUCS Individuals at the end of next week. The next International competitions for me are in March, where I will be back playing with my regular doubles partner – we weren’t able to play together in January because of difference in schedules. I am looking forward to working with her again as we have a very good record together, and we are still aiming for our goal of getting into the main draw at Wimbledon this year. It is proving harder than usual because of the time that studying takes up, but competing in the biggest tournament in the world is such an amazing feeling so I will do everything I can to get that opportunity again.

Let’s hope it pays off! Bye for now,



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