Book Reviews

Enquiry  Donate

Published by lulu.com, 2012. A British female hockey player's journey to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the London 2012 Olympic Games …

From Tears To CheersThe dilemma of writing what is essentially a biography about one's own daughter is how to present the book successfully in more than just a subjective way. It will be for the reader of From Tears to Cheers to determine whether Phil Thomas struck a healthy balance. He certainly made it clear in the foreword and introduction that the book was a recording from a proud parent depicting a sporting journey of a double Olympian.

There is no doubt that Sarah Thomas's story has all the trimmings of a hockey player brought up in an unfashionable part of Wales, let alone Great Britain (GB). Merthyr Tydfil born and raised, she was to defy the odds to reach the ultimate heights of world hockey.

Simply to compete beyond Wales at GB level was an outstanding feat in itself. To continue on a path from initial disappointment of non-selection and qualification in Athens in 2004 to the achievement of playing in the Beijing Olympics, then winning the bronze medal at London 2012 reflected greatly on Sarah's drive and character. As a role model for young players, Sarah stands tall, right up there on the podium for all to admire.

Yet, here is where the author stood still in his account of her long sporting tale. Poignantly, there is hardly a single word or quote from the subject matter, Sarah, in the entire narrative. As readers, we hardly get any insight from her, an educated graduate. We are left in the dark about her, her team mates and those inter personal relationships between the squad's coaching and management staff and the GB players.

The author constantly and appropriately reminds us of Sarah's positive qualities in the text but many questions remained unanswered. For instance, how did she cope as a proud Welsh woman in an English dominated team? When advised to improve her overall game in Holland, which areas did the Dutch coaches concentrate on? And why was there so little detail on her seasons at Rotterdam? Finally, what was Sarah's take on her international opponents?

Sarah's input into these parts of her career would have shed fascinating light on to who she really is and how she had developed during her decade at the top. The narrative seldom expands beyond her form, the next game and whether she would be selected or not. Subjectivity remains something of an issue too. There is a barely concealed tendency to shield his daughter from criticism, notably when scenarios did not go her way – a father’s prerogative one might argue – and instead, critique is applied to fellow players, umpires and selection decisions.

Additionally, for such a colourful book cover, it was rather surprising not to have even one page inside dedicated to photographic content. Surely over eight years in international hockey and substantial time spent in the Netherlands could have yielded some instances of Sarah’s experiences in pictorial form?

These negatives are a shame because there are areas of the book that are genuinely interesting and enjoyable to read. Phil Thomas’s adventures in Beijing, for instance, reveal how tough it was to adapt both on and off the field to cultural contrasts! Indeed, more could have been written throughout the book on the struggles of living a newly found full-time professional life style, and both how Sarah and her parents had to adapt to this as a requirement for selection.

Phil Thomas has definitely made a case for his daughter's legacy; however, the content seldom strayed from narrow personal achievement and ambition. Sarah's journey was certainly long and impressive, though it is a shame that the author did not let us know very much of her personally.

 

Phil's book is available to buy now from online retailers including Amazon (ISBN 978-1291115918).

Editor: the opinions presented in this article are those of the individual assigned to review this particular book. They do not represent the views of The Hockey Museum.

Book Reviews: An Introduction

Our Library at The Hockey Museum is without question the largest hockey library in the world, with over 1000 titles. Our earliest book is dated 1810 but the vast majority of the collection dates from 1900 to the present day. We are still discovering previously published titles from around the...

Book Review 8: “The Hockey-Kids, The Adventure Begins” by Sabine Hahn

Book Review 8: “The Hockey-Kids, The Adventure Begins” by Sabine Hahn

Here at The Hockey Museum we get very excited when something new relating to our sport is released so you can imagine the excitement when we got wind of a new children’s book featuring hockey. A week later when our copy arrived in the post there was debate around the...

Book Review 7: "The Great Britain Hockey Story" by Bill Colwill

Book Review 7: "The Great Britain Hockey Story" by Bill Colwill

As hockey fans, seldom do we gain access to a compendium of our national team’s fortunes covering half a century. This book, cleverly crafted by one of hockey’s most respected and enduring journalists, Bill Colwill, offers the reader a tremendous insight into the history of the Great Britain men and...

Book Review 6: "On The Origin Of Hockey" by Carl Gidén, Patrick Houda and Jean-Patrice Martel

Book Review 6: "On The Origin Of Hockey" by Carl Gidén, Patrick Houda and Jean-Patrice Martel

This work by three members of The Society for International Research reflects years of patient study into the great game we generically refer to as hockey. Academic it certainly is, but do not let that phase you at all, because On The Origin Of Hockey possesses a multitude of gems...

Book Review 5: "From Tears To Cheers" by Phil Thomas

Book Review 5: "From Tears To Cheers" by Phil Thomas

Published by lulu.com, 2012. A British female hockey player's journey to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the London 2012 Olympic Games … The dilemma of writing what is essentially a biography about one's own daughter is how to present the book successfully in more than just a...

Book Review 4: "1309 Days Later" by John Pennington

Book Review 4: "1309 Days Later" by John Pennington

Published by Amazon, 2012.   John Pennington's account of the plight of a never ending losing team may resonate with small sports and hockey clubs up and down the land, its rendition of a three year period when Grantham, a backwater hockey club in the east of England, experienced three...

Book Review 3: "Ernest Bracebridge" or "Schoolboy Day" by WHG Kingston

Book Review 3: "Ernest Bracebridge" or "Schoolboy Day" by WHG Kingston

Published by Gall & Inglis, 1860.   A surprising number of hockey books are published every year and sometimes it takes The Hockey Museum (THM) a while to become aware of them as hockey is not mentioned in the title. In the case of biographies and autobiographies it can take...

Book Review 2: "The Hockey Dynamic: Examining The Forces That Shaped The Modern Game" by Gavin Featherstone

Book Review 2: "The Hockey Dynamic: Examining The Forces That Shaped The Modern Game" by Gavin Featherstone

The Hockey Dynamic is a thoroughly good read which will appeal to all hockey lovers, but will also be of great interest to general sports fans. Gavin writes in a style where his enthusiasm for hockey shines through honestly and clearly. His years of experience across the world lend authority to...

Book Review 1: "How Have I Cheated Death? A Short And Merry Life With Cystic Fibrosis" by Tim Wotton

Book Review 1: "How Have I Cheated Death? A Short And Merry Life With Cystic Fibrosis" by Tim Wotton

Most people take playing hockey and a long life for granted. For one English hockey player, these things have never been taken for granted but hockey has proved to be his saviour …   Tim Wotton has spent his whole life battling the hereditary illness cystic fibrosis (CF) and recently...

Home

About Us

International Focus

News

Features

Education

Library

The Peter Savage Oral History Collection

Artefacts & Archives

Research & Study Topics

Timeline

Our Partners

BathUni Library Logo     EH Logo on white    FIH Logo Large    HLF compact cmyk   Mercian BLACK 2011 12   WokingBC RGB logo     CMYK Portrait

S5 Box

Login

Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.