Behind the scenes, irrespective of where, there is always an unsung hero, sometimes there’s more than one in fact, and one of those, at West Bridgford Rugby Club, recently attaining second place, and with it promotion from the Midlands 1 (East) Division, is their club physiotherapist, Holly Calver.
To be classed as an unsung hero, even as a rugby club physio, is something that, just a few short years back, wasn’t even on Holly’s radar, far from it in fact, animals, and the world of Zoology being her original, chosen path.
Now though, having worked with that of West Bridgford, and at Nottingham, over the past couple of years, she’s never looked back, in fact, she couldn’t imagine life being any other way, stating that she has “accidentally fallen into this, but I really like the environment, the sport, and I’m really enjoying it.”
But what about Holly, the woman behind the magic sponge? And what about that complete, 360 turn, from Zoology, to Sports Therapy?
“My initial degree, yes, it was in Zoology,” admits Holly.
“I’ve always wanted to be a conservationist, but all that lab work, that changed my mind.
“I’ve always been sporty though, as are my parents, but I didn’t want to be a Personal Trainer either.
“Then, having picked up a long-term injury, as well as undergoing a career-crisis, at the same time; it has taken time, and I’ve mentally struggled, but I find that, because of my own injury, I’m able to relate more because of it.”
So, having gone from wanting to work with animals, to working with brutish men, in mud and water, battering each other on a field – it’s about the same really, surely, yes, no – who knows!
Holly though, once that intellectual mind of hers had been changed, to the world of sport, there’s been no turning back, including in the classroom.
Now a qualified Sports & Massage Therapist, Holly has added to her BSc Honours degree in Zoology, yes, she completed that, with a Level Three Sports Massage, and an MSc Sport Therapy.
“Whilst I was at University I actually asked if I could do the course,” explained Holly.
“That was in 2017, and I was 24 at the time, and I looked at that as a possible way in, whilst also working from home at the same time.
“Then, when I was doing my Masters, I also had to do a placement, which I managed to get at Nottingham RFC, and I ended up staying on.
“It was hard though, doing the Masters, and I was the only one on the course that had no background, whilst also working, commuting, all at the same time.”
That all paid high dividends for Holly, for, not only did she come out with an MSc Sports Therapy, she also collected the ‘School of Sport and Exercise Science Prize for Degree of Master of Science in Sports Therapy.’
Surprisingly though, and with a distinction from her Masters, Holly didn’t write her dissertation around rugby, after all, she is sporty, as mentioned, has also been known to dabble in netball as well, her dissertation therefore being on ‘Preventing Ankle Strains in Netball Players,’ which was conducted with her old netball club.
Now, and although the past couple of years have been tough, on everyone, Holly included, she having to make changes, sacrifices, whilst continually learning her craft, there’s always highlights, like this past season with West Bridgford for one, and, in late 2019, working with the cast of the On Your Feet Musical, another.
“I’m occasionally sent different job opportunities and this (On Your Feet) was with a musical company based in Leicester,” continued Holly.
“The closest I’ll get to being in a musical was providing the therapy for the cast, and they were all so lovely, and talented.
“I’d be there on a Friday, giving them treatment, and it’s a totally different set of people, with completely different injuries, but I loved working with them, and they were a delight to work with; and yes, even got to watch the performance live, which was amazing.”
Anyway, back to the rugby, sorry Holly, we have to!
“Throughout the pandemic, I kept myself quiet, and to myself, was very cautious and holding off until I was really needed,” added Holly.
“There was no work, and I missed it, I missed the club, the people, as they’re a great bunch at West Bridgford, honestly.
“But I find myself learning more and more each year, and you also learn to trust each other as well.
“This past season though, that’s been my best so far in the sport, I’ve really loved it, and now I’m looking forward to what’s next, building, keeping on top of things, whilst shadowing, and learning from more experienced people.”
Holly Calver was speaking with the Nottingham Sport ahead of West Bridgford RFCs final game of the season, at home to champions Bedford Athletic, on Saturday 23 April, further information can be found via the clubs’ socials on Facebook, Twitter and on their website.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @BridgyRugby it’s been all smiles for Holly Calver this season.