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Archive for December 22, 2018

Dec. 22, 2018 — The tragedy of the zero sum

A schoolteacher. An owner-operator of a New England bed and breakfast. A coach.

An admissions officer at a prep school. A baker. The proprietor of a fitness center.

A marketing analyst. A vice-president of a television network. A homemaker.

These are some of the current occupations of some of the field hockey players who used to play in the U.S. high-performance system. For once reason or another, these and dozens of other athletes, who had money expended on them through USA Field Hockey, have left themselves out of consideration for the national team or any other high-performance duties and have decided to go and do something else.

That’s because there are hundreds of national-team hopefuls in the pipeline, but only about 25 in the national team pool, which gets cut down to 18 or even 16 for major competitions.

The math is cruel, especially without a professional league to allow players with the ability to play at a high-performance level to be identified.

Without a national field hockey league, membership in the high-performance pool is a zero sum. With all of the excitement around the addition of Mackenzie Allessie, Linnea Gonzales, Kealsie Robles, and Kelsey Bing, there are players who have had to have been dropped.

Every player leaving the U.S. team represents the departure of experience, but also walking out the door are hundreds of hours of effort and thousands of dollars’ worth of training and travel.

A fantastic amount of spending since the National Training Center opened in Virginia Beach in 2001 has produced a lot of teachers, field hockey coaches, and people in various other vocations.

And one major trophy, the 2014 FIH Champions Challenge.