TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 14, 2015 — Day 1 of MTSI; or perhaps MTSBO, already

The opening weekend of National Indoor Tournament Qualifiers happened over the weekend in an industrial park tucked near a historic cotton mill between Baltimore, Md. and Washington, D.C.

The unusually warm weather allowed many of the teams to meet and warm down outdoors, an unusual occurrence during the indoor field hockey season.

The U-16 tournament had participants from all over the mid-Atlantic, with a championship final that saw the Tcoyo club from Virginia Beach, Va. defeating the Typhoon Elite team from Fredericksburg, Va. in a taut final that wasn’t determined until the final seconds of play; a goal straight out of the Princeton playbook from last fall (a ball that was batted in from about ankle height) was whistled back because of a raised pass.

Both of these teams will go into the U-16 National Indoor Tournament at Spooky Nook in early March, along with the other two semifinalists, the winners of the semifinals of the consolation bracket, as well as any team which may be lucky enough to get in with the last-chance lottery.

Perhaps it’s because the championship games at the end of the day weren’t for tournament slots, but I did notice that there was something missing at the final horn of many of the games the latter half of the day.

The missing element? Emotion. No yelps of enthusiasm, not much in the way of cheering and clapping. It was as if the joy of playing the game had been vacuumed right out of the building.

As indoor field hockey has ballooned from simply a useful recreational tool with added benefits into a business enterprise, the stories you get to hear on the sidelines are not positive. There are instances of coaches remonstrating their players, parents getting after game officials, and it’s even gotten to the point of one organizer taking sexual liberties with several indoor players last decade.

Then again, through all that, you get moments of magic, such as when Typhoon’s Ashley Kim took the opening hit after the whistle in a quarterfinal match, slalomed through four opponents, and scored in about 4 1/2 seconds. It’s the kind of skill that is built in the indoor game, and it’s the kind of skill that should be celebrated.

And vocally.

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