BEAUMAN Morgan’s stubbornness has been at the core of overcoming adversity.
The Tarawera High School teacher will coach the New Zealand masters men’s underwater hockey team, is the assistant coach of the under-19 women’s team and has a “pipe dream” of making the men’s elite team as a player. But Morgan’s future was not so bright 12 months ago.
This time last year, the 35-year-old was in hospital recovering from a stroke. It came nine years after Morgan had a heart attack.
Doctors told him he had had rheumatic fever at some point in his life, which formed a hole in his heart. Leading up to the heart attack, Morgan said he had blackouts and his weight had ballooned to 125 kilograms.
He said he was training hard at the time and couldn’t understand why he was piling on the weight.
“I had open heart surgery and I think it is more stubbornness than anything that has got me through it. It is the fact that I have managed to keep myself in the water. The doctors told me I could never play again, but I had to keep up the effort. The biggest challenge has been having three young kids.”
Morgan said family was a part of the reason for his love the sport.
“My father-in-law, Ray Dolmon, died last year and he was a hardcore masters player, so that is another reason motivating me. My wife Raewyn is such an important part of it too. She is an former women’s elite rep, and coaches the Trident team.”
The under-19 world championships are in Tasmania in July and the team includes four players from the national champion Trident High School team.
Trident won the senior girls open section at the three-day New Zealand Secondary Schools Underwater Hockey Championships in Wellington last year. After going through pool play unbeaten Trident beat Diocesan School in the semi-final and then Howick College 3-2 in the final.
Playing in the senior competitions is a big goal for Morgan and he said the masters and elite world champs are in Canada next year.
“Making masters would be awesome because I would also like to play, but the elite team is a bit of a pipe dream. I did play for New Zealand years ago and have had a hand in the elite level. Coaching is something I have always done.”