“You become a group of friends”

Specsavers Home Visits optometrist, Jaclyn Payne, on playing hockey for Scotland, the comradery of team sport, and the rewards of domiciliary care

Jaclyn hockey match

My hometown is Greenock, about half an hour from Glasgow. I started playing hockey when I was 10. I played for the school team, then for the district. At a district tournament I was selected to play for Scotland under-16s.

I was asked at the age of 19 to step up and have a game for the seniors in Barcelona against Spain. I was quite nervous and young at the time. I remember as we were warming up for the match, one of the girls said ‘There’s a guy over there in a kilt. Who is that?’ I turned around and it was my dad. He knew it was my first senior cap for Scotland so he booked a flight over to surprise me.

I studied optometry at Glasgow Caledonian University. I would go to lectures in the morning, then go to the gym to do a weight session, then more lectures and at night I might have a club training. My parents ferried me about a lot until I could drive myself. Mum, bless her, would have meals ready, she would do all the washing so I could just grab my hockey stuff and go.

If you’ve had a rubbish week, you can talk about it with your teammates – a problem shared is a problem halved

Eventually, when I got to my fourth year – the pre-reg year – it became difficult. I was working on Saturday, travelling an hour and a half to my pre-reg placement. I had to give up hockey for a year. It was sad, but at the end of the day, I knew that hockey was not going to finance my life.

With hockey I have travelled to many different places over the years. I’ve played in France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Belgium and South Africa. I’ve been fairly lucky injury wise – I’ve twisted ankles and broken a few bones in my hands. Thankfully, I’ve still got all my own teeth.

Hockey match
Jaclyn Payne plays hockey for Scotland
The best storm I ever saw was in South Africa, near Johannesburg. I was warming up and saw these black clouds in the distance rolling in, rumbling with thunder. We were standing there, singing the national anthem and the rain started pummelling down. We all rushed back into the dug outs and within three or four minutes the pitch had flooded up to mid-shin height. In Glasgow, sometimes you couldn’t see the white lines because the pitch was covered in snow.

I love the group effort of hockey. Moving down to West Yorkshire, my husband told me that I should seek out a hockey team because I needed that comradery and buzz that you get from the other girls. If you’ve had a rubbish week, you can talk about it with your teammates – a problem shared is a problem halved. You become a group of friends.

You have to be quite disciplined in hockey and that is also the case for optometry. I have been doing domiciliary for nearly ten years. I remember doing my first shadow day and thinking ‘This is fabulous – what a difference we can make for people.’

The older generation are just lovely. I saw a woman the other day who enjoyed doing jigsaws and crossword puzzles, but she was struggling to see them. We were able to correct her vision to the point where she could enjoy those activities again. To anybody who wanted to try domiciliary, I would say absolutely give it a go.

• As told to Selina Powell.