(With thanks to Steve Cubbins/Scottish Squash for this photograph.)
Former Mary Erskine School pupil Georgia Adderley (2017 leaver) only turned 20 earlier this year, but she has a wise head on young shoulders and has been looking back on her time at School with great fondness.
Today, Monday, 8 March, is International Women’s Day - a fitting time to catch up with up-and-coming squash player Georgia, a great role model to young females and all pupils at MES.
“I had a great time at The Mary Erskine School, it was a great place to be,” Georgia states.
“Way back in the day I started in the Thistle nursery room and was there right through Junior School and Senior School until I left about three and a half years ago.
“I made some of my best friends at the school and one of the main memories I have is just how much fun we had together!
“The staff and support staff were brilliant and so helpful. I am thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to be able to go there.
“The opportunities and extra-curricular activities we were given and invited to take part in at school were brilliant and they helped to grow me as a person.
“As I got older, I needed help from my teachers and others at the school to balance my schoolwork and my sporting endeavours, but they were great with me and were very supportive. Within the school they are so supportive of sport in general and in my day and now people there really encourage girls to stay active and that is so important."
While she was in the senior school, Georgia was playing squash and football to a high age-grade level. She won a number of national trophies in squash and played football for local club Spartans and for Scotland national age-grade teams.
Part of her decision to leave school after S5 was that she wanted to focus on squash, meaning that in 2017/18 she could dedicate more time to honing her game whilst at Edinburgh College.
“A number of people at the school were really helpful in helping me plan out my post-school life as well as helping me work hard for my exams in S5 and I am thankful to them for that,” Georgia recounts.
“I had my family and my squash coaches to chat to of course, but to have teachers helping me out with any questions I had really settled me down during what was a very busy year of juggling things.
“All of the advice from various different places helped me to make what was the right decision for me and 2017/18 was a good year for me to be exposed to more senior squash and learn how I needed to prepare, train and play to compete with the more senior players in Scotland and elsewhere.”
The Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018 came just too soon for Georgia, but it left her determined to try and make Birmingham 2022!
The pandemic and various lockdown measures have seen sport at all levels hit at some point in the last 12 months, but due to the ‘elite sport’ ruling Georgia and the other best squash players in Scotland have been able to continue training.
“I am so thankful to the people who have made that possible and it has meant that we have been able to continue with some sort of normality at our training base at Oriam [at the Heriot-Watt University campus at Riccarton],” Georgia explains.
“There is no doubt that being selected for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is my next big target, but to do that I just have to keep sticking to my processes and keep on learning every day.
“During the first lockdown last year I was able to take a step back from things and really take in everything that has happened to me with my squash and in other parts of my life since I left school in 2017. It has been a bit of a whirlwind time with loads of ups and downs, but I think I am in a good place now and have a good outlook on things to really kick on throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond."
“Squash is a sport of such fine margins and matches can turn in a split second, but I have learnt to deal with setbacks better now and I am excited for the future.”
We can't wait to see what you go on to achieve Georgia. Thank you for inspiring the next generation of sportswomen.
By Gary Heatly