TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Nov. 20, 2006 — Field hockey as kiwi fruit

The kiwi fruit, a species of edible fruit from the Actinidia deliciosa vine, is sometimes called “The Ugly Duckling of Produce.”

A brown, fuzzy casing may keep the uninitiated away. But peel the skin off, and you will find brilliant and sweet green and yellow flesh.

That ugly brown cover is reminiscent of how the game of field hockey is packaged in the United States.

Take, for instance, the recently concluded NCAA Division I tournament. Friday night, the live ticker from the game site indicated that the final score, in regulation, was Wake Forest beating Duke 5-3. I was interested in one entry close to the end of the match, showing that Kristina Gagliardi had scored a goal for the Demon Deacons.

I found that extremely interesting, seeing that not only was Gagliardi a goalkeeper, but she had torn an ACL earlier in the season.

Only hours later did I ascertain that multiple missed entries in the display for live statistics led to the game being “over” when it had, in fact, gone into overtime with Wake winning 5-4.

You thought that was bad? The game broadcast Sunday on College Sports Television was even worse. Some of the same misstatements of fact from earlier in the season were repeated; specifically, that the sixth-place finish by the United States in the FIH Women’s World Cup was “our best ever,” forgetting that the Americans won bronze in Dublin in 1994.

But the ultimate error occurred in the middle of the half. A Maryland turnover led to a Wake shot that clearly flew wide of the cage on first glance, and the announce team wondered why the shot didn’t count as a goal through four replays over two minutes.

They didn’t even realize that the ball never entered the cage in the first place.

I know that several coaching bodies have sponsored college broadcasts over the years, with the AVCA ensuring a Sunday night broadcast of women’s and men’s volleyball on CSTV and the NSCAA cosponsoring a Friday soccer broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel.

It’s time that either USA Field Hockey or the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association do the same thing. 

In the meantime,  I hope that if you taped this year’s championship match to watch it again, you’ll turn the sound down. You’ll be doing yourself a big, big favor.

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