October 21, 2009
By Omar Rawji
|Photo: Neil Hodge|
Scott Tupper, still just a “bright-eyed 22-year-old,” as described by Yvonne Zacharias of The Vancouver Sun, assumed captaincy of the Canadian Men’s Field Hockey team for games three to five of the 7 Test Super Series against India. Although the assignment was temporary, since regular captain Ken Pereira was not present, it was an affirmation of Tupper’s growth as a player and as a leader on the team.
Since the beginning of September, Tupper has been away from his hometown of Vancouver, B.C., playing and honing his skills with An Der Alster of the German Bundesliga, one of the world’s premier field hockey leagues. He and fellow Canadian national team member, Mark Pearson are playing in Germany together, and although their teammates back at UBC Field Hockey miss the way the duo terrorized the Hawks and Jokers of the Vancouver league, they both feel that their time is better spent learning from and playing against some of the best the world has to offer.
“Every weekend is like an international level game,” says Tupper. “You only play each team once, so it’s really important each week that you get the points. You really get used to putting it all on the line.”
This type of experience cannot be gained back in Canada, and in a few months it will be invaluable as the national team heads to the 2010 World Cup.
No stranger to the world stage, Tupper has played 85 international matches for Canada to date, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, an experience that has certainly helped him develop into the leader he is today.
“That experience is something I draw on, whether I’m wearing the arm band on the field or in day-to-day activities with the team,” he says. “It definitely motivated me a bit more to keep working hard because it made me want to get back to tournaments like that.”
Although he will not captain the team come March as veteran Pereira, a player with 291 caps to his name, will be back, Tupper feels privileged to assume the role whenever called upon.
“It’s obviously an honour to have something like this bestowed upon you, especially playing at home in front of family and friends. And it’s a fun team to try and lead,” he says.
|Photo: FHC / Neil Hodge|
Asked about if he feels the pressure of this added responsibility Tupper replied, “Maybe a little bit, especially as I’m getting on a bit more in games. There are some new guys coming in under me that are sort of looking towards me. But I think it’s good to put that pressure on yourself, where you have to both perform and to be a good example on and off the pitch in everything you do.”
With such a mature and grounded response, he seems more than ready for what’s expected of him, which is why his coach and teammates feel comfortable with him leading the squad.
As he continues to develop as a keystone of the team, journalists will continue to search for creative descriptions. Bright-eyed, crimson-haired, powerfully built – whatever words they choose, it is clear that Scott Tupper will be making headlines at the forefront of Canada’s burgeoning program for years to come.
Note: Tupper will be away for games six and seven of the 7 Test Series, but he will return for the games against the US National Team, beginning on October 27.