The Scottish brothers with hockey in their DNA
From the backyard to the Commonwealth Games, Scotland’s Forsyth brothers have always had hockey in their blood.
When David and younger brother Alan weren’t playing hockey as kids on the astroturf in their backyard, they were indoors rearranging furniture to get a good game in.
From the moment they could walk, they have been playing hockey together.
Their mother, Lynn, represented Scotland 60 times including two world cups and their father, Derek, now coaches the national team.
While they weren’t forced into the sport, it quickly became an all-encompassing family passion.
Hockey is simply part of the Forsyth DNA.
“We used to have Astroturf in our garden,” David told GC2018.com.
“We used to play a lot of hockey at home. In the garden, in the house, in the living room with mini hockey sticks, moving furniture. Mum and dad would come home and the whole house would be rearranged into a hockey field.
“We would make little goals in the house and it was quite competitive.
“The parents weren’t happy when they’d get home, because the whole house would be moved. It was great fun.”
The Forsyths have become a cornerstone of the Scottish national team. David has 73 national caps to his name, while Alan has played over 123 matches, scoring 78 goals.
“It is always nice to have him there with me in the Scotland uniform. It would be weird if my brother wasn’t there,” David said.
“We’ve both been in the team for so long, I think I’ve only played once without Alan there, it was so weird.
“A lot of the guys in the team have grown up together, a lot of us played at Kelburne, but it is extra special when you have a brother in the team.”
David is three years older than Alan and to this day, still looks after his little brother.
It’s been that way ever since they were kids, when Alan – despite the three-year age gap - would play alongside David for the Kelburne Hockey Club.
There is no question David looked after him on the pitch, but Alan reckons he’s been doing it all their lives.
“We’ve always played together,” Alan told GC2018.com.
“We’ve been lucky enough even in club hockey that we have played in the same team, even though I was three years younger.
“They needed an extra player, I was dragged along to his U16s games when I was 13 and would sub in. My brother has looked after me my whole life. He looked after me on the pitch, off the pitch, gave me anything I needed. He’s helped me financially; he’s helped me with a lot.
“I probably owe my brother a lot to be honest.”
The Forsyth brothers are tight, while they now live in different countries – David lives in Holland where he works full-time and Alan is living in London training as part of the Great Britain team - they communicate on a daily basis.
The running joke is that the only time they see each other now is at hockey, when the national squad gets together for training or international matches.
Add their father as the team coach to the equation and Scotland hockey is very much a Forsyth family reunion.
“Some people laugh about it, because our hockey trips are family affairs, my brother is here, my dad’s here, my mum’s coming over to watch,” David said.
“We are just such a hockey family, it is nice that you get to share that experience.
“We actually just do see each other at hockey or Christmas.
“We usually get one social trip a year, but other than that we only ever see each other at hockey. It’s nice that when we do go away for trips with hockey, we can go and get coffee and just catch up, it gives us an opportunity we wouldn’t normally get.
“When we train back in Scotland we are back at home, so we try not to talk about hockey all the time. Otherwise it becomes hockey overload. You play all day, then you talk about what happened, what is coming up, it isn’t healthy.”
The Forsyths will be looking to help Scotland progress in a tough Pool A containing heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and tricky games against Canada and South Africa.
Scotland are coming off one of their most successful seasons ever, where they won the EuroHockey Championship II – going through the tournament undefeated, winning six matches.
Alan was the leading goal scorer of the tournament with eight.
It has them well prepared to take on the might of the Commonwealth at GC2018.
“We had quite a good year last year, we won our European championships,” David said.
“It was probably one of our best seasons and I think we are in a really good place heading into this year.
“We are ranked ninth in the Commonwealth, and our target is set much higher. Hopefully we can play as we know we can play. We need to be really competitive against the teams that are ranked higher than us.
“We played Canada twice in the last year, and we know that is a team that we can compete with and we can target.
“We play against a lot of European teams, so this is a chance to play against other teams and other styles. Hopefully we perform well and can move higher on the rankings.”
It would be a great present for Alan who has a birthday on the opening day of competition, but also a chance for his family to share the occasion – all thanks to hockey.
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