'Priceless': Three generations meet on field for first time
Australian Kookaburras assistant coach Brian Fitzpatrick's hockey career has taken him across the world but the high point of 50 years in the sport arrived last weekend at the Casuarina Sharks hockey club.
For the first time three generations of the Fitzpatrick clan shared the field: Patriach Brian, 68, on one side, head-to-head with his son Peter, 42, and grandson Jarrah, 14, on the other.
If not for COVID-19 those stars might never have aligned.
The merger of three senior teams into two created the rare opportunity for Brian, a division three stalwart, to meet his offspring in a Casuarina vs Casuarina clash.
"It's a priceless memory," the elder Fitzpatrick said.
"Being a grandfather your heart fills with pride when you see your grandson playing.
"I have to say, I got to mark Jarrah a few times and he got the better of me.
"I taught him enough to know you run around the old blokes, not at them, and he took my coaching to heart."
At one point there were 15 Fitzpatricks playing hockey at the northern New South Wales club but the spread of ages meant a family reunion on the field never eventuated.
Young Jarrah's 14th birthday allowed him to play in the Men's competition for the first time, facilitating the first family affair.
The next step, Fitzpatrick said, was to join them on the same team.
"My hope is that sooner or later I'll actually get to play with them for a game or two."