Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013 — A blue conundrum

This week sees the conclusion of one Women’s World League semifinal, which is being held at Rotterdam Hockey Stadium, the home ground of Rotterdam HC in the Netherlands. The 10,000-seat facility has a green turf with a red apron on it.

But when the other Women’s World League semifinal is contested next week at the University of Westminster, the pitch is going to have a retro World Team Tennis look to it. That’s because the scoring circles are going to be made with the same blue “Smurf Turf” that was at Riverbend Stadium in London for the 2012 Olympics. That ground has been dismantled, with the blue turf moved about nine kilometers towards the center of the city.

Only part of the turf, however, is being used; an England Hockey press release cited the need to make repairs to the ground quickly after Germany decided not to host the competition.

This presents an interesting problem. Although the game is going to be held under the same sets of rules throughout, having blue scoring circles with the rest of the pitch being green is, I think, going to take more adjustment than usual. It’s not like having basketball players getting used to playing on a court with a different-colored free-throw lane, or playing on a court where the area inside the three-point line is painted (or, for that matter, the entire court).

The thing is, the game of field hockey is played on the ground, not in the air. There’s a reason why FIH and FIFA have resisted putting advertising signage within the field of play unlike many other sports have done: to minimize distractions to the players.

As good as the teams in the World League Semifinal 2 tournament are, I wonder if there is going to be an incident in which proximity to the 16-yard circle is misjudged in a critical juncture of a critical game.

Something to watch for.