‘Just Unbelievable to be Acknowledged for What You Have Put In’ –  Hockey Stalwart Marian Marescia Revels in the #PowerofRecognition

Hockey and the name Marian Marescia are two things that are synonymous with each other, even as the years pass she has managed to remain an icon of the sport. It is a well-known fact that Marescia is known as one of the greatest players not to play on the highest level due to the apartheid in the country when she was at the peak of her career. All photos: Supplied

Hockey and the name Marian Marescia are synonymous with each other. Even as the years pass, she has managed to remain an icon of the sport.

It is a a well-known fact that Marescia was one of the greatest players never to play at the highest level, due to apartheid in the country when she was at the peak of her career. 

https://gsport.co.za/the-ebbs-and-flows-of-being-youth-in-sa-captured-by-young-gsport-award-winners/

The mother of former South African hockey captain Marsha (now Cox), Marescia played under the SACOS – The South African Council on Sport, a non-racial sports federation that allowed athletes of color who were excluded due to the abhorrent apartheid laws at the time. 

Despite these challenges, Marescia went on to fulfill many hockey dreams, becoming a selector and a renowned coach. Her achievements made her the perfect candidate for a place in the gsport Hall of Fame in 2022. 

She says she was truly humbled that gsport bestowed her with this honour, which she never expected despite the countless sacrifices she made to compete in the game she loves. 

“Initially, it was such a surprise because I think people from my era played for the love of the game. I coached because I wanted to extend that love to others. By coaching, you also feel like you are taking the game to more and more people. That night after receiving that award, I thought, ‘Am I in a dream? Is this real?’

SA Hockey Icon, Marian Marescia

“When we played under the SACOS banner, we were still playing during a sensitive time in the country. I remember thinking it must be so lovely to play hockey on an Astroturf, and when I eventually did, after the two federations merged, I was already older and realized what we had missed out on. So to be acknowledged for what you have put into the game was just unbelievable and amazing.”

Marescia feels her award speaks to the #PowerofRecognition, as it means people recognise what she had to go through since her hockey career began. 

“The most amazing thing is there are people who still know I am around, and perhaps there are people who know I am very involved in hockey. To just be acknowledged, someone knows how difficult it was at the beginning of this journey, and now they acknowledge perhaps the difficulty, and there is fruition at the end of it all.”

Marian Marescia

Today also marks a special day on the gsport calendar as the nominations for the upcoming Momentum gsport Awards open. This is the 19th edition of the prestigious event. Marescia, having been at the 2022 event, feels that the event is one of a kind.

“I think it’s such a wonderful occasion to celebrate women in sports and to get them the recognition they deserve. I chatted to quite a few women from different codes, and everybody was just saying that they are amazed at what gsport is doing for women in sport. I think I might have even mentioned to Kass that gsport does such a brilliant job that you guys also need to be given some kind of recognition!”

Given what Marescia has endured during her career, there is no one better to ask about the current state of hockey in the country. South Africa celebrated 30 years of democracy this year, and Marescia says she feels there has been improvement over the past three decades. 

“I do think there are two sides when we look at this. It has grown, and it is wonderful to see that some of the top hockey schools are offering scholarships and study bursaries to talented players. That is something I am pleased to see happening.”

Marian Marescia

“However, I do feel some players are slipping through the cracks because there could be natural talent not being tapped into. They are either not at the right school, or they are not seen by the right people. But the game has grown, and it’s wonderful to see players getting selected purely on merit.”

The country is currently celebrating Youth Month, and Marescia has this advice for young, upcoming hockey players. 

“You feel so passionate about this game that you want to play, you want to be out there on the field, and you want to be a team player – it is a team game! To be the best team player on the field, there are various attributes you need to have, like being fit and making sure you are doing your job on the pitch because you trained hard enough. 

“Sometimes, you have to stand back and say, ‘That’s all I can do for today.’ Some people put so much pressure on themselves, they overdo it, they overthink, and that’s when you slip up. You must be passionate and enjoy what you are doing, and don’t forget to have fun. It’s all about balance.”


Main Photo Caption: Hockey and the name Marian Marescia are two things that are synonymous with each other, even as the years pass she has managed to remain an icon of the sport. It is a well-known fact that Marescia is known as one of the greatest players not to play on the highest level due to the apartheid in the country when she was at the peak of her career. All photos: Supplied

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