By Alex Courtenay
Georgetown College’s debut of the lacrosse team has been very popular, but honestly they should jump on the field hockey bandwagon. Field hockey is the second largest team sport in the world, after soccer. It is also played in over 100 countries. Field hockey is played with 11 players on a team. These teams include defenders (backs), midfielders, forwards and a goalie. The goalie wears full-body protection and is the only player who can use their feet and hands.
Field hockey is very similar to soccer except the ball is significantly different, players use sticks instead of feet and there is no offsides. Okay, it is more like ice hockey, just no ice or puck.
Field hockey in the United States is known to be a female sport. However, outside the U.S. field hockey is prominently a male sport. Men’s field hockey has been in the summer Olympics since 1908 and women’s field hockey was introduced to the Olympics in 1980. And no, men do not wear skirts when playing hockey; only the women wear skirts.
Field hockey is actually a somewhat dangerous sport. This writer played for nine years, and in those nine years skinned a finger nail off a girl with a high ball, gave a girl a black eye with a high stick and have been hit in the face with a high stick over three times. After games we would sometimes show off our bruises like trophies, painful trophies. One of my teammates even got hit in the head so hard with a stick she had to wear a concussion helmet during games.
Needless to say, this is not the safest sport, even with shin guards and mouth guards. It was not until after my high school graduation in 2010 that eye protection became mandatory in Louisville, Ky.
Field hockey is all about eye to hand to coordination. If you do not have the skills, you will struggle with to playing the game. It is very easy to get a foul in field hockey if you are not careful and don’t move quickly. The many fouls include the ball hitting feet, obstruction, third party obstruction, high ball/aerial balls and high stick. If any of these fouls are called, then the opposing team receives a free hit. Or, if a foul is called on you in your team’s defensive circle in front of your goal, then it is a corner.
A team never wants corners because offensive players have to stand behind the fields 50 and it is up to the defense players to protect the goal. Four defense players and the goalie stand behind their goal line as the opposing team stands on the outer defensive circle with one of their players standing next to the goal ready to pass the ball. When the ball is passed to an opposing player the rusher, or defense player to the left of the goalie, beelines for the ball and tries to block or deflect the ball. After the rusher are the right trailer, left trailer and the left post. Bottom line, corners are the worst and defenders have to wear terrible facemasks that look like C-3PO.
Field hockey is a great sport that is energetic and all around fun. There may be injuries that come with the sport, but they are worth it. I never enjoyed playing a sport more than field hockey, so Georgetown needs to get on it and add field hockey to the athletic program.