Away from their day jobs, lawyers can embrace new challenges and pursue fresh goals. Boase Cohen & Collins solicitor Alice Cabrelli finds hockey is the perfect outlet after a week at work and so, here, she reflects on a momentous season with her teammates.
Hong Kong, 18 May 2017: As a lawyer, nothing beats the sense of satisfaction you get from helping a client resolve an issue – you feel you have made a difference in someone’s life. At that moment, the years of study, the effort and perseverance involved in forging a career in the legal profession, all seem worthwhile.
Outside of work, we can find similar feelings of achievement in our chosen hobbies or pastimes. Sport is a passion for many a legal professional and, in my case, the sport of choice is hockey.
So, this week, I’m going about my work with a spring in my step as I reflect on a hockey season that was both historic and thoroughly enjoyable and which culminated last Sunday in the most important match of the season.
I’m fortunate enough to be Captain of the Hong Kong Football Club Ladies B team together with Vice Captain Dawn Strachan – yes, we’re the second string, used to playing in the shadow of our counterparts in the Club’s A outfit. But such is the strength of HKFC hockey we both play in the Hong Kong Hockey Association Women’s Premier League – in fact, we are the only B team in the top flight. Not only that, we finished the season as Premier League runners-up behind our Club colleagues, marking the first time ever that two HKFC teams have topped the table.
While the Premier League is important, the most glamorous and prestigious trophy in Hong Kong women’s hockey is the Holland Cup, a knockout competition that closes out the domestic season. With victories over Valley B in the quarter-finals and Kowloon Cricket Club A in the semis, we achieved another slice of history by becoming the first B team ever to reach the Holland Cup final.
And who was waiting for us in the final at King’s Park last Sunday? Of course, HKFC Ladies A, looking to complete a league and cup double. And if we had approached the occasion with some foreboding, it would have been understandable, given that we had lost all our five previous matches against them, the last occasion a humbling 8-2 loss in March.
But our coach Michael Gee urged us to put those results out of our minds and focus on playing the game of our lives in the final. Anything can happen in a one-off match.
And so we rose to the occasion. A hard-fought encounter remained goalless until well into the second half before we finally blinked, conceding what turned out to be the winning goal from a short corner. The final whistle sounded and, while physically and emotionally drained after a 1-0 defeat, we could be proud of our efforts.
It has been a wonderful hockey season both on and off the pitch. As well as on-pitch successes, we can reflect on our hugely successful inaugural LiquidNet Guv Dillon Charity Hockey Ball, which we organised and hosted in March. This event welcomed Dr Hannah Macleod MBE – a member of Great Britain’s 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning ladies hockey team – as Guest Speaker and raised over HK$600,000 for two wonderful causes.
One of these was Operation Breakthrough, which uses sport to rehabilitate and positively reinforce young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helps combat juvenile delinquency amongst low income and immigrant communities. The second beneficiary of the event was the ChickenSoup Foundation, which provides development support to youngsters living in extreme poverty with tailored programmes focusing on education, healthcare and inspirational activities.
The difference that sport can make was reinforced by an uplifting talk given at the Hockey Ball by Police Constable Peter Yip, an alumni who shared his experience of how Operation Breakthrough had changed his life.
It will be a long summer while we wait for the next hockey season. In the meantime, the legal profession presents its own challenges and, it is certain, further chance for fulfillment.