Yesterday, USA Field Hockey announced the nine individuals and one team to be inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame.
I’ve been a sometime critic of the Hall because of how it has installed people in fits and spurts rather than having groups of inductees of a predictable size being elected every year. In football, about five; basketball, about 10; baseball and soccer, two or three.
I’ve gotten to know a number of these folks throughout the years, whether it’s been interviewing Karen Collins about her amazing recovery from breast cancer, running into Roque Viegas at games in the D.C. area, seeing the always-smiling Carrie Lingo on the sidelines of a big game, or even engaging former U.S. international Kris Fillat-Buchanan over the last couple of days on her memories of playing in the Serra Invitational.
There’s one induction, however, that touches my heart. It’s the 1975 West Chester University field hockey team that won the first organized intercollegiate national championship under the auspices of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).
There are luminaries on the roster such as head coach Vonnie Gros and current UConn head coach Nancy Stevens. But there is a woman on the roster I’d like to highlight.
Kim Tumility Bedesem was the head coach of Princeton (N.J.) Day School’s girls’ lacrosse team. And she was supposed to be entering her 14th season the year I started writing for the dailies. I was blissfully unaware of the pain she had felt in the years before her death in the early spring of 1993.
Since then, the school’s alumnae lacrosse game has been named for her. But there is a more personal memorial on the school’s campus. On field hockey or lacrosse game days, up on the knoll behind the scorer’s table is a painted white and blue beach chair, with a brass plate on the back that says, “Kim’s.”
It was said that, during her fight against terminal illness, one of her favorite activities was to come to random PDS athletic events, lounging in a beach chair and rooting for the home team.
I hope that someone brings that beach chair to the Hall of Fame ceremony this fall. It would be a fitting reminder of a life well-lived, one which ended too soon.