The chance to represent your country is a dream shared by kids all over Australia, regardless of what sport they might play. At 21, Tristan White has already accomplished the boyhood dream and more.
He’s played for his country and in 2009 he won medals in both the Junior World Cup and the Youth Olympics. White is also currently on scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport. While he takes none of his achievements for granted, one of the best things about playing hockey is the chance to return to Wollongong and play for his home club Uni.
White has been a proud member of the Uni side who have won the last three consecutive titles in the Illawarra and has also achieved success in the Sydney mens competition where he was a part of the Moorebank club who took out the championship in 2010.
Although currently based in Perth due to his commitments with the AIS, White has continued to play, whenever available for Uni this season. Despite having to fly in and out from Perth each week and only being able to spend a limited time back home, he still loves every chance he gets to return to the Illawarra.
“It’s always been great to come back and play with uni over the last three years,” White said.
“It’s my home club and I’m very passionate about playing for them and I enjoy returning to play alongside all the boys,” he added.
It has been tough on both White and the club to have to fly in and out from Perth each time, with his team mates even having to hold fundraisers in the past. It’s something he is grateful for as it’s worth taking every opportunity to return to play in the Illawarra.
Although he enjoys the opportunity to train and play at a higher level in Perth, White still feels playing in the Illawarra competition is a great challenge.
“The training over there with the AIS is really, really high quality, but in club games the matches back here are actually quite well matched with the level of competition over there,” he said.
White has played for Uni whenever possible this season and although he was unable to return for his sides Semi-Final loss to Albion Park, he was able to make the trip for the Preliminary final against Wests and therefore made himself eligible to play in the Grand Final rematch.
White is now hopeful of being available for the decider against Albion Park next week. So are his teammates who know they can always expect a big game whenever he returns.
“We lost about six guys from the side last season but we’ve been able to replace them with a lot of good, young guys, so we’re pretty confident and we’ll just go out there and give it everything,” he said.
Fellow Australian Under 21s representative and Uni teammate Flynn Ogilvie said the confidence levels of the team always rise whenever White is in the side.
“Yeah it always does,” he said.
“Even last time we had him in the side and he played out of position it still definitely lifted the team,” he added.
Ogilvie feels the side will receive a boost if White plays in the Grand Final.
“It’s always good to have Tristan back in the side,” he said. “He brings a lot of experience and really adds to our attack.”
White lists achieving the double by winning the championship in both Sydney and Wollongong as being amongst his proudest achievements in the sport.
“Those were great moments and I’d probably match them with taking out the bronze medal at the Junior World Cup (in Singapore) in 2009,” he said.
The chance to represent his country has been a great honour for White and he said it was always a great feeling.
“There are a lot of nerves and you have so many senses switched on when you’re out there,” he said.
Having already represented his country at Under 21s level, making the step up to the Kookaburras and the Olympics now looms as a goal for the future. Wherever his career may take him, the one thing White is sure of is he wants it to end with Uni.
“Definitely,” he said.
“I always enjoy coming back to play for uni. It’s where I started and where I want to be able to finish playing my hockey,” he added.