Field Hockey

Women’s field hockey is an interesting sport. Last night at the playground, of which I speak regularly, in some of the associated greenspace there was a high school field hockey game being played. I do not know who the teams were, nor does it really matter. What matters is that field hockey is not a sport for the faint of heart.

There are not any mainstream high school men’s sports that have as much potential for serious injury due to lack of protective equipment. Field hockey is played with a very hard ball that is a little bit smaller than a baseball and about twice as dense. It is also played with rather imposing sticks. The safety equipment that all players must wear that is associated with this game consists of 2 things: shin guards and a mouth guard. That is it, just those 2 things... nothing else. Only the goalie is protected from head to toe. The only men’s running, contact sport that comes close to this level of lack of protection is soccer, but the ball in soccer is not hard and the opposing players in soccer are not wielding clubs.

While I was an undergrad at the great Kent State University (Kent Read! Kent Write! Kent State!) I made it my mission to see all the NCAA collegiate sports that my university offered (the only sport that I did not make it to was men’s baseball, but I do not feel too bad about that since I have seen a baseball game before.) I felt that if my tuition dollars were going to pay for the sports I should at least witness as many of them first hand as I possibly could. Of all the sports I went to, field hockey was one of the few that I actually made a point of seeing multiple times. Men’s wrestling was not my thing and the timing was all wrong for the basketball games. In truth, most of the sports were not all that interesting to see, but field hockey really was something else.

It is a very fast paced game. The players all run around hunched over with their sticks low to the ground. There is a penalty if the ball is hit higher than knee level or if the stick travels above a certain height during a striking motion. The rules are pretty interesting. There are a goodly number of dead ball plays that occur. The game mechanics themselves seemed to be a cross between hockey, soccer and, lacrosse. There were aspects of the play that seemed to favor all three of those sports. I was happily surprised when I was able to catch a bit of field hockey action during the past summer Olympics. I think the Netherlands were beating some other European team pretty soundly when I had to leave the house. Anyway… at Kent, when I was there, the team was a really powerful team, so I got to see some really good games between Kent and Miami of Ohio (their chief MAC rival at the time). I honestly do not know how anyone can run 4 to five miles crouched over, but those women seemed to do it pretty well.

Well, seeing a bunch of high schoolies hunched over chasing a ball with clubs reminded me of my time in college when I went to KSU’s games. Little Man, however, was not nearly so interested in the field hockey.

To recap:
Most men’s sports are played with protective equipment
Most woman’s sports are not played with much protective equipment
What does that say as a culture?
Terri was a math ed. major and Aimee (sp?) was an art ed major so I got to talk in depth to both of them about their sport whilst at Kent, thanks ladies
I am honestly surprised that Tamora Pierce is not even remotely as popular as J. K. Rowling
Little Man does love him some Burger King