How to Pick Yourself Up When You Don't Make the Team

Posted on 17th Jan 2021 in Sport, Community, ESMS

Many of you will know Valerie Thomson, our PE teacher at MES but what you may not know is that before she became a teacher, she represented Scotland in hockey, including the Commonwealth Games, bringing home 95 caps for her country. Like many athletes she hit a few stumbling blocks along the road to success, but in true ESMS spirit she never let these failures stop her from achieving her dreams.

Inspired by the hugely popular 'How to Fail' podcast by Elizabeth Day, our MES Games Captain, Cara R, caught up with Mrs Thomson to to find out about what she would describe as her "top three failures" and what they taught her about succeeding better. 

You can watch the full interview here

After being selected to be a part of the GB squad for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, Valerie was let down last minute. 

“I was down to the final 26 when I got pulled in by the coach who told me I wasn’t going.  It still hurts even now, if I’m honest.  One person’s decision shattered my life.  I felt I’d let everybody down. I felt like a failure. 

I was ready to retire my hockey stick but as I watched my teammates compete in the games that year I decided that I wasn’t going to let the decision of one coach finish my career on a failure. So I picked up my stick and I went on to play in another Commonwealth Games, bringing home 95 caps for my country, which I’m really proud of.   

One of life’s greatest lessons is that making mistakes and not always getting it your own way makes you stronger.  It’s how you deal with the setbacks that is the important thing. You just have to keep believing in yourself, remember the old expression Whit's Fur Ye'll No Go By Ye.  So work hard and stick at it.” 


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