Tuesday, July 3, 2007

For the love of field hockey

Wednesday's ESG profile is about Kristin McGurl (pictured), who is heading into her senior year at Arlington High.

Before coming here, I was a sportswriter in Connecticut for a while, and the level of high school field hockey there was quite high - just like it is here.

So I gained an early appreciation for field hockey in my learning years as a sportswriter. The key to enjoying it is understanding why the whistle blows all the time. It's quite simple, really. If a player is advancing the ball and it's stopped by the foot of another player, it's an obstruction, the whistle blows, and the player who was advancing the ball basically plays on.

Unlike many sports, a whistle blowing in field hockey doesn't mean to relax. It's just a quick stoppage most times, then the battling resumes.

Other than that, like ice hockey, the game is about being aggressive and controlling the ball. I saw the Hudson Valley ESG field hockey team win gold in person in 2005; they won it again last year.

If you have a chance to watch some ESG field hockey this summer, don't blow it off. It's intense and it moves, which is what most people look for at sporting events.

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