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Archive for September 12, 2022

Sept. 12, 2022 — A brand new day in field hockey

In the southeast corner of Champions Field on the campus of Lewes Cape Henlopen (Del.), there were two teams contesting for the ball in the second half of Matchday Two of the Bi-State Challenge.

In camera range of the Delmarva Sports Network production were six players — three for Delmar (Del.) and three for Pocomoke (Md.), who just happened to have brown skin. The color commentator in the booth made note of it, saying it was great for diversity and inclusion for the sport.

That commentator was me.

Since this site started in 1998, I have been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the sport of field hockey. I also know that it is very much an uphill fight. But with small victories here and there, especially when it comes to adding field hockey in new areas of the country, the game is getting more and more diverse at the grass roots level.

Yes, there is still a lot of work to do to get more Mimi Smiths, Linnea Gonzaleses and Amy Trans onto high-performance teams. But all it really takes is the willingness of coaches to bring inclusiveness into a team culture, and to make it known that field hockey is for everyone.

And this ethic is sprouting up all over the place. Today, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), the greatest field hockey program of the 21st Century, started its season with a 3-1 win over conference rival Tabernacle Seneca (N.J.). Scoring two goals today was an African-American junior named Olivia White. Last fall, she had a shorthanded goal for Eastern in the final five minutes of play, leading to Ryleigh Heck’s game-winner at the horn. The second-leading scorer for the Vikings was Brooke Ruiz.

It certainly is a new day in the annals of American field hockey when it comes to inclusion.