Jamaican athlete plans to play hockey in China

Charlette Rowe is excited to play hockey in China.
Charlette Rowe is excited to play hockey in China. (Photos: Contributed)

Charlette Rowe has one great passion. It is the game of hockey.

She is off to China on a Ministry of Finance scholarship to study International Relations. Outside of her studies (including a year learning the language), what does she want to do in her spare time?

“To play hockey,” she says.

Hockey is not an easy game. Played on grass or sometimes indoors, field hockey dates back to the days of the ancient Greeks and versions of it have been played around the globe for hundreds of years – including in ancient China, where ice hockey is also becoming popular. In Jamaica, it’s a fairly low-key sport. Charlette and her team may change all that in the future.

Charlette wants to continue playing in China, noting that China was one of the top four teams in last year’s Youth Olympics. She has set her sights on competing in Jamaica’s under-21 team next year.

Charlette Rowe (right) is all smiles as she stands with her Jamaican teammates.
Charlette Rowe (right) is all smiles as she stands with her Jamaican teammates.

A former Deputy Head Girl at St Hugh’s High School, Charlette grew up on Rousseau Road, St Andrew, with her mother and siblings. Her father died three years ago. Her family members are happy for her, proud of her. She has overcome the ‘stereotype’ of an inner-city girl, in the eyes of other girls in her community. A role model? Yes, this former ‘shy girl’ thinks so.

It was not an easy path to tread, as her mother could not afford high college fees. Thanks to the scholarship, she is able to embark on a course of study.

But one thing hockey has taught her, says Charlette, is mental toughness. Strength. Determination. And she loves the teamwork.

“From ever since, I was considered as a tomboy,” says Charlette, who was interested in football at first. When that didn’t work out, she fell in love with hockey. It has been her route to empowerment.

Charlette Rowe holds the Jamaican flag before departing to China last Friday.
Charlette Rowe holds the Jamaican flag before departing to China last Friday.

Besides which, she says: “God have mi back!” Her church is a “good support system,” she adds, helping with school and examination fees. She’s grateful.

Now that she has reached this far and is poised for a new chapter in her life, she has some advice for youth who are feeling trapped by circumstances.

Don’t make excuses!

“You have to want something for yourself. Do your thing, your craft, in a positive way. Don’t succumb to your environment,” she said.