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Sept. 14, 2017 — The lessening of a craft

The last ten years or so has seen the retirements of a number of legends of the field hockey pitch from the coaching box.

But equally distressing is the number of sportswriters covering field hockey who no longer have work. Some have been eased into editorships, others moved to other departments of what is left of the paper, and others let go altogether.

In suburban Philadelphia, along the rail line from Center City to Trenton, there are two newspapers which used to be owned by Calkins Media, and are now owned by GateHouse Media, a concern based overseas.

Five days ago, the newspaper announced drastic job cuts. And amongst them were a pair of field hockey writers who are not only married to each other, they have an 11-year-old special needs child.

This is a child who requires almost constant care, and has to go to a special school in Philadelphia. Sometimes, if a required nurse does not make it into work one day, one of the two parents is required to accompany the child to school.

So, imagine if, suddenly, the two incomes needed to give this youngster a semblance of a family life were zeroed out.

Imagine if the job cuts also saw the end of the family’s health insurance coverage.

And what if, after decades of service, your severance is less than two weeks’ salary.

Just like that. Poof.

My journalistic colleagues are proud people, and not a family of means. And the last thing they would want is a handout.

But this is a situation where you have people in board rooms across the sea making devastating decisions about people’s lives without even getting to know what their impacts mean on these lives.

It’s just rotten.

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Sept. 13, 2017 — A lawsuit in Philadelphia has the school district flat-footed

Remember this?

Well, this has been happening the last few days.

And given the incredibly weak-as-water response by the flacks at the School District of the City of Philadelphia at the end of the story, I think McRae has not only a winning case, but one which may broaden legal definitions even in the face of government interference.

Watch this space.

Sept. 12, 2017 — Another salvo in a friendly “turf war”

This past Friday, Greenwich Sacred Heart (Conn.) rededicated a pair of turf pitches located behind the school which were originally built in 2006.

But both pitches are now radically different from each other. One is meant primarily as a lacrosse field, and has a rubber-crumb turf surface as before.

The other carpet, painted blue, is a water-based turf pitch with built-in cannons, constructed to FIH standards. It is only the fourth U.S. secondary school to have such a facility, following on Houston St. John’s (Tex.), Norfolk (Va.) Academy, and St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.).

It’s an exciting development not only for field hockey, but for field hockey in the states of Connecticut and New York. There are a number of public schools, FAA teams, and clubs just aching to get their chance to play on the wet turf.

I have a feeling this turf is going to be a true mecca of the sport, given the powerhouse teams in the region.

BULLETIN: Sept. 11, 2017 — Winchester (Mass.) 3, Watertown (Mass.) 0

The last decade has been a run of golden form for the Watertown (Mass.) field hockey team, featuring eight straight state championships, a shutout streak spanning 30 games, and National Federation-record unbeaten streak of 184 games combined with a winning streak of 124 games.

But today at Knowlton Stadium in Winchester, Mass., a scant 7 1/2 miles north of Watertown, the Raiders saw their streaks end with a 3-0 loss to Winchester. Madison Micciche and Clare Moloney-Kolenberg scored goals eight minutes apart in the first half, leaving it up to goalie Brooke Ross and the Sachems’ defense to bring it home.

“I thought, ‘there is no way we are losing,’ ” Ross, a sophomore, told The Boston Globe.

Watertown, by way of comparison, had beaten Winchester 6-0 to start last season. And every season, Watertown was obligated to meet Winchester and all of their league opponents twice throughout the regular season, a much more difficult recipe for a multi-year winning streak.

But full marks to Watertown for going nearly nine years between losses, and for head coach Eileen Donahue for being one of only a couple of coaches to ever have more than one unbeaten streak of more than 75 games.

 

Sept. 10, 2017 — Of service and time

This Tuesday, Kathleen “Cookie” Bromage will be in the coaching box when Enfield (Conn.) hosts West Hartford Frederick U. Conard (Conn.) in the opening varsity field hockey game for both teams.

Once the game is official, Bromage will do something that, we think, has only been done one other time in the recorded history of scholastic field hockey: maintaining head coaching duties into a sixth decade.

This year also has seen Linda Nixon of Springfield (Pa.) embark on her 50th season of coaching.  The high-water mark that we have found is Judy Schneider, who has just started her 52nd year of coaching at Hanover (Mass.).

This means there are three coaching who have been around 50 season or more, a truly remarkable achievement for these women.

Others have gotten close in recent years, but Angela Tammaro of Greenwich (Conn.) Academy retired a year before the start of her 50th season, Maureen Polley retired after 45 years at Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.), Bev Osterburg was forced from her job at Stowe (Vt.) in 2012, and Cheryl Poore left her job at Chatham Monomoy (Mass.) last December after 49 years serving at Monomoy and at Harwich (Mass.)

So, in terms of years of service, here’s a list of coaches who (we think) have been around the longest:

52 Judy Schneider, Hanover (Mass.)
51 Cookie Bromage, Enfield (Conn.)
50 Linda Nixon, Springfield (Pa.)
50 Joan Walthour, Monterey (Calif.)
49 Angela Tammaro, Greenwich (Conn.) Academy
49 Barb Major, Lawrence Notre Dame (N.J.)
49 Marie Fiedler, Hudson Western Reserve Academy (Ohio) and Kent (Pa.) State Lab School (Ohio)
49 Cheryl Poore, Harwich (Mass.) and Chatham Monomoy (Mass.)
47 Nancy Gross, Wall (N.J.)
47 Claudia McCarthy, Millville (N.J.)
46 Karen Klassner, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.)
45 Maureen Polley, Malvern Villa Maria (Pa.)
45 Bev Osterberg, Stowe (Vt.)

Sept. 9, 2017 — An even bigger cannonball

Over the past two decades, one of the hallmarks of the Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) field hockey team is their propensity for getting off to a good start in important games.

Yesterday, in a non-league contest, the Vikings opened their game against Madison (N.J.) Borough with four goals in a shade over 8 1/2 minutes in an eight-goal first-half on the way to an 11-0 win.

Eastern, a team which still has many pieces from a team which won last year’s Group IV state title, wasn’t playing just any other opponent. This was against a Madison Borough team which beat a good Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) last Tuesday by a 3-0 margin and, by virtue of its recent state tournament history, had to be part of the conversation for group final honors.

Jessica Maute, the senior midfielder, had four goals and now has 100 combined goals and assists in her career.

Sept. 8, 2017 — Finding 00s

This year, Sue Butz-Stavin will hit her 900th career victory with Emmaus (Pa.). Laurie Berger of San Diego Serra (Calif.) could hit her 800th win in mid-season.

And a number of coaches are just at the brink of 600 wins, such as Ann Marie Davies of Madison (N.J.) Borough, Bob Derr of Lititz Warwick (Pa.), Sharon Sarsen of Shrub Oak Lakeland (Pa.), and Debby Watson of Chesterfield Barat Academy (Mo.).

But there is plenty of backstory behind last night’s 600th win for Cathy Keiser of Selinsgrove (Pa.) Area. Read this story from the Sunbury Daily Item.