Field Hockey Around the World

As I’ve already hinted, field hockey is popular in many different places. In central Pennsylvania which is where I am from, the general public knows that field hockey is a sport that is popular among girls. Very few (if any) male teams exist because field hockey is viewed as a girl’s sport. However, if you were to take a trip to Europe, Australia, or even India, you would not find the same distinction. Men’s field hockey is just as popular as women’s field hockey. Field hockey is way more universal than what most Americans realize.

When I came to college, it was crazy to me that people had no idea what field hockey was. They could figure out it was a sport because they could tell I was an athlete. I learned from my teammates how to describe the sport I loved to people who did not even know it existed. There were two main approaches to describing how to play field hockey. Typically, I described field hockey as “a mix between soccer and ice hockey”. Everyone around Erie definitely knew what ice hockey was, and most people were fans of the sport. The majority of people would nod their head like they understood, but sometimes they still seem to have a blank stare on their face.  At this point, I try to explain field hockey again by saying “It’s kind of like lacrosse on the ground” which tends to work if the first approach didn’t.  I, myself, am not very familiar with the sport of lacrosse. Yet, I had heard other teammates describe field hockey this way, so I assumed it was safe to repeat the description. Next, the key to any accurate description of field hockey is to add what the three of the most important rules are which include: the ball may not touch your feet, you may only use one side of the stick, and you can only score inside the circle.

A game of field hockey is never postponed or cancelled unless a thunderstorm or a tornado is nearby. Thanks to Erie, I have been truly able to experience field hockey in all types of weather. Countless home games have been played when there has been a torrential downpour, sleet, and even hail until the balls of hail got too big they were considered dangerous. The only protection we have on the sideline is a ginormous jacket that does a fantastic job of keeping us warm and dry. Those of us in the game unfortunately only have under armor to protect ourselves. Most of our opponents hate having to travel to Erie for a game because the weather can be so unpredictable. Like the locals say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”

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