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Archive for November 14, 2020

Nov. 14, 2020 — Lessons from the past

Last week, I was looking for any vintage articles on one of the best all-time field hockey scorers from the 1960s and stumbled across some historical information which could be of some value to school athletics administrators, especially given the fact that we’re facing an enormous uptick in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

The Coronavirus pandemic is not the only health epidemic that has affected scholastic field hockey, especially in the eight counties in the southern half of New Jersey.

The late Bob Kenney, field hockey writer for The Camden Courier-Post, mentions at least three pandemics which cancelled field hockey seasons.

Oddly enough, none of them involve the Spanish Flu epidemics of 1917 and 1918 that cost the lives of 50 million people worldwide. Instead, it was a 1923 influenza epidemic that stopped play in southern New Jersey.

During the middle part of the 20th Century, polio was a particular concern. Field hockey was either not played or severely curtailed intermittently from 1938 until after World War II. The two major periods were the late 30s and early 50s.

I don’t know how many other field hockey teams or programs had their seasons terminated or otherwise affected by pandemics.

But Coronavirus certainly wasn’t the first. And, I fear, it’s not going to be the last.