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Archive for January 19, 2007

Jan. 19, 2007 — Did anyone bother to ask actual players?

This weekend, the rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations will vote on a measure to mandate eyewear for scholastic field hockey players.

Have any of the 70,000 or so scholastic players in the United States ever been asked? Certainly not. Otherwise, why not consider the opinion of the Federation’s all-time leader in assists, Chantae Miller?

“It’s horrible people want to make those mandatory,” she told The Buffalo News last year. “It totally takes away your vision of the field and when you’re low to the ground, you can’t see up without seeing all that black (foam padding).”

Or the consideration of someone who had a head injury while in college, like former Duke midfielder Kim Susko?

“The thing is, the plastic type will fog up whenever it is humid or you get hot and sweaty, and you can’t see,” she told this website two years ago. “And with the cage, there’s so much padding that you can’t control the ball when you’re looking forward. I wore them once, and the padding makes you feel like you’re in your own little world.”

You also hear words such as “annoying,” “constricting,” and “suffocating” when the subject of eyewear is broached to the players.

It does make you wonder what is keeping mandatory eyewear on the Rules Committee’s docket.

A major change in USA Field Hockey is afoot. Yesterday, it was announced that former president Sharon Taylor has resigned from the USFHA’s Board of Directors.

Though the accompanying press release mentions changes in the direction in the governance of the sport, the timing of the resignation is curious, two days before the vote on eyewear in the Federation. After 40 years in the game of field hockey, is Taylor’s resignation a sign that eyewear approval is imminent, and she knows that the sport as she knew it will be gone forever?

It’s not too late, people. You must let the Federation know what you feel. Have your say by clicking on this link, then change the popup menus to “sports” and “field hockey,” and write your message in the space provided. Feel free to use any arguments and statistics over the last two weeks on this blog.