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Archive for January 13, 2007

Jan. 13, 2006 — The “camogie” argument

A week from now, members of the National Federation’s rules committee will have a third vote as to whether to impose mandatory eyewear in field hockey.

One argument you can use when you contact the Federation is to argue that the sport will change forever, that the nature of field hockey as we know it will change from a skilled sport on the ground to an aggressive sport played above the ground.

The argument here is that eyewear will create a “slippery slope,” changing the sport forever:

1. If you impose eyewear on the players, individual players will feel invincible and will have little regard for other players’ eyes, faces, or heads. There will be more raised balls than ever.

2. That being the case, you can lighten the hockey ball by using something light and bouncy, like the inside of a tennis ball with the fuzzy part torn off.

3. The problem is, if you change the ball, it winds up being much lighter and doesn’t travel as far, especially on grass. That means having to change the stick to something wider and flatter to paddle the ball along rather than actually craft an attack from midfield. Of course, the stick should be as light as possible, so we can make it out of dried northern white ash.

4. Having changed the stick and the ball, there should no longer be “dangerous play” for a raised ball since you can’t really get hurt from the hollow rubber ball.

5. That still leaves hazards from the stick, which can strike a player on the unprotected part of a player’s head. You might as well wear a helmet with a full-face shield.

6. If you have allowed raised balls with the much lighter ball and the sticks which are now paddles, scoring actual goals will be much more difficult. You might as well extend the goalposts 30 feet over the goal. Of course, since that would make goalkeepers pretty well obsolete (like in Australian Rules Football), you can bring goalies back into play if you keep the horizontal crossbar and the goalie, while giving a bonus to players who are able to score between the uprights and under the bar.

If you take these six steps in changing field hockey, you get another sport: Camógaíochta. It’s the women’s version of the Gaelic sport called hurling. Here’s a sample of game play.

Save the game of field hockey. Contact the Federation and make your voice known!