Kurt Hensberg, proudly SA and world class hockey player, and brilliant striker talks openly and with such deep passion and wisdom. He is such a wonderful inspiration and motivation for our SA Nation, our youth, and hockey lovers all around the globe. Kurt is a true game changer and has been nominated as the most influential goal scorer internationally and top goal scorer in SA at the men’s interprovincial champs. Kurt it is all about staying hungry for the game, having played in SA, Ireland and Australia. He is deeply purposeful, a rare quality that I would like to see in many more of our athletes. What I admire most about him is his drive and his passion to make his mark and leave a legacy of goodness, this is the heart of a true athlete “… to be recognized, not only for myself, but I want to be a reason why the sport grows, I want to be a hero to youngsters, the reason they pick up a hockey stick and want to be the best, I want to inspire people to believe and to hope”.
Photo Credits: Sean Burke
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Kurt Hensberg|
|Date of birth||22 June 1990|
|Place of birth||East London|
|Club||Kovsies, YMCA Dublin, Canturbury HC (Aus)|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||Anything soulful or to dance to|
|Favorite Movie||Psychological thrillers|
|Tertiary Inst Name/ Year||University of the Free State|
|Tertiary degree/ diploma||Honors in Sport Science|
|Sponsors||Help from Osaka|
|Twitter and Instagram, Facebook name||@KurtAJHensberg – Twitter,
AlfredJohnHensberg – IG
Kurt Alfred John Hensberg – FB
|Parents Names, siblings||Parents: Mark and Jeanette, Brother: Brad|
Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your Hockey tell me a little bit about how you started in Hockey and your journey in the Hockey arena up to now?
I was born into a hockey family, with my dad having played at various levels and going on to coach the national side at a stage. It was easy for me to get into the game with my dad putting a lot of time into the sport. School hockey started off as fun with friends, but I began wanting more form the sport, to become elite. These dreams fueled my high school career and I was fortunate to make various national schools teams. University hockey started off terribly during the first year, and after that we had a bunch of guys that stuck together for 4-5 years, inspiring a complete revolution at Kovsies. Personally, and on behalf of some of the guys in the team, we believed we were hard done by, not being selected for national squads more regularly despite consistently good performances. This disappointment possibly fueled our determination which helped us do so well. That team environment we were in was absolutely incredible and I have yet to see it in any other team. My personal game lifted immensely when I decided to play striker, where I made a name for myself as a goal scorer, instead of my usual defensive position. It was lifted to another in 2015 when I was fortunate enough to play for clubs in Dublin, Ireland, and Hobart, Australia, being named as an influential goal scorer at both clubs. The way you evolve as a player by adjusting to the different styles does wonders for your game. 2015 culminated in being awarded the top goal scorer at the men’s interprovincial tournament.
Q: Who are you?
As a person I believe I am loyal and honest, perhaps too honest. I like to give everything I have to what I want, being completely passionate about my interests, which results in debilitating disappointment or unrivaled elation. I would like to see myself as a more patient person in the future.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in Hockey and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
My highest accolade would be, being awarded the top goal scorer of the 2015 men’s interprovincial tournament. As for my greatest personal accomplishment, it would definitely be the entire 2015 year, where I established myself as a goal scorer in 3 countries in one year. I am very proud of that.
Q: You have travelled outside SA before, what are you highlights of these travels, and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?
Travelling overseas has been a real privilege. The highlights being the people I met and lifelong friends I made. Travelling to do beer and wine tastings, live shows, the many different pubs, and of course taking selfies with kangaroos. I did a lot of growing up while travelling, having to do a lot of things myself, with mom helping out here and there. My biggest realization is how big the world is, how many interesting people there are out there, and I was saddened by how many people won’t get to experience it all, and also how I was scraping the barrel to get to and from places. There is so much out there to experience and being stuck in one place seems a sad situation to me.
Q: Have you lived overseas for a season/ time period? Living away from home / travelling extensively is a sacrifice, in this situation, what does it feel like?
I spent 5 months in the UK, followed by 2 weeks back home, and then 6 months is Australia. Living away from home for me was fairly easy, having left home for university. Of course missing Mom and Dad a little more than usual. It is a sacrifice, it’s a lot of time and energy, but when you feel passionately about something, you’re happy to do it. The sacrifices I made were completely overshadowed by the experience I gained, and what I learned about myself, and how I grew up. There is nothing that can compare to that.
Q: In your opinion, what is the value of Education for our youth?
I could ramble on about my opinion on education, but to summarize it: educating yourself is the best thing you can do with your life, but the way we are educated is not adequate enough. There is no replacement for experience.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
I have a complicated spiritual life. I follow no set religion, but take advice from my many friends of different religions and cultures. The conversations we would have as open minded people really kept us evolving our individual spirituality. Being in a positive frame of mind, thinking the right way and acting the right way does absolute wonders for your life and sport.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I am part of the gaming generation, so Xbox is high up on the list. Braaing with mates, working out in the gym, trying new foods, and playing putt-putt. I’m really good at putt-putt.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
An Afrikaans friend of mine stumbled upon this quote while trying to say something else, he said: “We don’t sleep enough to live the dream”. We made jokes then, but it soon evolved. I love how it symbolizes that success doesn’t come easy, and once you are successful you have to keep at it to remain there.
Q: When you hit a “hard / difficult” patch in their sports career, what goes through your mind at that time? What advice can you give other young athletes in this regard?
At first there is a panic and sadness. As cliché as it sounds, the key is to remain in a positive frame of mind and focus on the processes to get back to where you should or want to be. For example, injury recovery should not be about moping about the injury, but focusing on the strengthening and rehabilitating of it. Ask what do I need to do? How do I do it? Have your end goal and place smaller goals to help you reach it, for example 10 pushups this week, 15 next week.
Q: In your opinion, how do you define success in life / how do you define a successful person?
I believe someone who is truly happy is successful. If you are doing what you love, and you smile at the end of the day and each morning when you wake up, then you are successful.
Q: What’s your WHY ? Why do you do what you do? Also, looking into the future, what type of influence do you see yourself having on SA’s and our continent’s youth? What example would you like to set for the one’s coming after you?
There are 2 sides to my why, firstly to be recognized, not only for myself, but I want to be a reason why the sport grows, I want to be a hero to youngsters, the reason they pick up a hockey stick and want to be the best, I want to inspire people to believe and to hope. Secondly, on a more personal note, there is a feeling I get when I’m on the field, a lot of athletes will tell you the same thing, it’s this kind of calm, quiet chaos, where I am completely focused on one thing, the game being played, there is no outside world, there is no outside problems, it is the definition of living in the moment, and time does not exist. That feeling is incredible.
Q: What is your message of encouragement to South African/ African youth and our nation?
If you have a dream, do what you can to achieve it. Rather ‘struggle’ in life doing something you love, than be comfortable doing something you hate. You will find out a lot about who you are when chasing a dream, and experience more, and if you aren’t experiencing life, what are you living for.
Thank you so much for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!
Photo Credits: Sean Burke
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