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By Madeleine Gray on November 2, 2016 in News

Photo:  Dan Hutton

Photo: Dan Hutton

Ridiculously early morning training sessions, long drives to rural playing fields, hurriedly consumed UP&GO liquid breakfasts, and soggy swimmers soaking through itchy school uniforms – the sacrifices made by kids and their parents for sport are at downright martyrdom levels.

However, while most of us will reach our sporting apex at the Saturday grand final, or by scoring a goal against a rival school, there exist an anointed few who transcend all others. Every school has one or two sportspeople who make everyone else think, “Well, bugger me!”

This month, The Beast is proud to introduce you to two such young legends: Miles Davis from Randwick and Julia Bradley from Coogee.

Both Mr Davis and Ms Bradley are incredibly skilled hockey players who play for the University of New South Wales Hockey Club. This year, they’ve both been selected for the 2016 School Sport Australia All Australian Hockey Team (16 Years and Under).

Mr Davis is in Year Nine at Reddam, and Ms Bradley is in Year 10 at Kambala. While Ms Bradley was also selected for the Australian team last year, this will be Mr Davis’ first time competing in an international tournament.

Ms Bradley said that her first international tour to South Africa was a real eye-opener, and she was excited about the prospect of competing overseas again.

“It was an amazing trip, as we saw what life was like in South Africa and Brother Creevy, the tour organiser, made sure it was a life experience, and that we learned so much about South Africa,” she said.

Mr Davis said that he too was excited about the prospect of travelling overseas, as well as the challenge of coming up against some of the world’s best young hockey players.

“Making the team means travelling to Europe next year to compete against the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France in a huge 5 Nations tournament, with practice matches and touring that will span over one month,” he said. “It will be the biggest sporting challenge of my life.”

So how do these kids manage to balance school and playing sport at an elite level?

“You just have to get on to your schoolwork early,” Mr Davis said. “Reddam is extremely supportive and are accommodating in helping me make time for both school and hockey.”

Of course, parental commitment is also crucial, with both Mr Davis and Ms Bradley’s parents stressing that, in the end, all the time and effort is worth it. “As a parent it’s important to help keep a balance between school work and sport, but above all, avoid being a pushy parent,” Mr Davis’ parents, Fiona and Greg said.

Ms Bradley’s mother, Maria, echoed the sentiment.

“While it’s hard, the best thing a parent can do is be encouraging and be prepared to give up time,” she said.

Ms Bradley and Mr Davis’ success is a testament to the benefits of hard work and commitment at any age. We can’t wait to hear how they progress in the tournament next year.