Page 5 - BBHAC Winter 2014-15 Gazette web
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Interview                             3

If anything goes amiss               coach knows the right things          practice of addressing the
with her training she can            to say to different athletes;         question of what might have
concentrate on her studies           “he knows exactly what to say         been, through examining
(“I can’t beat myself up over        to different ones, she adds “how      alternative history or parallel
it especially if I have essays to    to get your adrenalin flowing         scenarios. “Oh I do that all the
complete the next day”) and if       and how to calm people down...        time” she admits… Yes this
those go badly she can go off        also he won’t lie to you... he’ll be  is all about causation… if you
and train to clear her mind so       completely honest and knows what      try to think about alternative
the two things complement            to do.”                               scenarios, what might have
each other and gives her a           Through Blackie she has also          happened…” She gave me
chance of escapism from both         learned how to be flexible and        for instance a sequence of
of them. It maintains the            absorb new ideas, something           events which may not have
work/life balance.                   which as an undergraduate             happened had a certain
Going back some years she            at King’s she has constantly          assassination in Sarajevo in
reflected on the time when           been doing. After her first           June 1914 not taken place, but
she was developing her               year she is moving from a             suggested that things could
athletic skills in the Bees          pure humanities emphasis to           have proceeded to a similar
Academy, particularly the            a more scientific approach            European state after 1945
importance of just having fun        to her subject and focusing           that did happen. “However
in training, even when it hurt       more on political history. By         there were tensions already in
at times (“everyone else feels like  doing this she is displaying          Europe, something else might have
that when they’re doing it hurting   the capacity of gaining               triggered it”.
together but they’re all giggling    understanding of the present          In examining this subject of
and enjoying it.”). Even when        by examining the past “When           causation she contends that
the pressures of competition         you look at the history of political  history could be regarded
and potential recognition            events” she says “you see in them     not just a humanity but
increased she claims she never       a lot of similarity with modern       as a science and this was
lost that sense of fun which         times and it makes it easier to       something she has plenty
feeds her vivacious personality      understand what happened in the       to say on. “It can definitely
and makes her easy to talk to.       past…that’s why I’m studying the      be regarded as a science because
Obtaining the opportunity of         political side of it as well. If you  there’s so much scientific specific
an interview in an increasingly      understand what’s happened in the     methodolog y that we have to
busy time for her has been no        past you can understand where we      apply to make valid historical
problem at all.                      are and where we’re going”.           conclusion”. But surely I put to
This approachability has             To the layman history                 her this micro-history cannot
been aided no doubt by the           might seem to be a matter             surely be regarded as real
influence of coach John              of mainly dwelling on the             history? “Once in a seminar”
Blackie in whom she was able         past, or perhaps interpreting         she replies “we have to argue
to identify several admirable        factual material to produce           whether it was real history or
qualities. Through him she           a different slant on a long           not history. It didn’t follow the
has gained the stability of          established definition,               scientific pattern of real history…
confidence through the               but amongst budding                   as in what we realise as science but
knowledge of his experience          historians, there is that             then it did because it did follow
and what works. An intuitive         increasingly attractive               everything that happened but
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