Howieson calls time
After 21 years of playing, 3 commonwealth games, 9 world championships, several European championships and various other brilliant trips all over the world, its with a heavy heart that I’m calling time on my Table Tennis playing career.
There are too many people to thank; other players, coaches, friends, family and plenty other people who have had a positive influence on my time in Table Tennis. I feel very lucky to have met so many interesting people through the sport and made friendships which far transcend the small world of Table Tennis. I am proud to say this great sport has shaped my life and taught me lots of important values which I try to pass on to the pupils that I teach every day.
Unfortunately for me, I dedicated myself to a sport which doesn’t get the support and recognition it should from the powers that be which dictate funding in this part of the world. Table tennis’ ability to get many people playing in a small area, it’s relatively low cost (compared to other sports) and the mental and physical benefits it’s proven to have, make it an excellent and and extremely investable sport and yet throughout my career I have had very little support compared to other athletes competing at my level in table tennis from other countries and in other sports in Scotland.
For the last 2 years, Table Tennis Scotland has not even had the funding to appoint and employ a national coach for the senior team, never mind a performance programme designed to continually improve and support athletes. This has affected me hugely, trying to hold down a teaching job while simultaneously trying to find available facilities and practice to qualify and prepare for the Gold Coast games. Consequently, TT has become more a source of stress than enjoyment. I have to feel like I am moving forward/learning/improving to enjoy playing, not battling to maintain a mediocre level when I know I have so much more to give.
I’m now looking forward to a small break from the game to refresh and enjoy doing some other things with my life. My only regret is that I will never know how good I could have been had I been given a chance to train properly for a prolonged period of time. However, in the future I hope to be involved in the development and performance side of Table Tennis in Scotland. Hopefully one day, Scottish Table Tennis athletes with my drive and determination to succeed will get the opportunity to realise their potential within the confines of Scotland!
December 11, 2018
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