This article was written by Alyce Bradshaw and Lea Emmons, who are both in the journalism class at U-32.
On September 18th, the U-32 field hockey team played Spaulding at home. The Spaulding team noticed the grass was about 4 inches long, (2 ½ inches above regulation). As the team was warming up, Spaulding team members yelled across the field, “Did your lawn mowers break?”
For years, the U-32 field hockey team has felt unappreciated. The grass isn’t the field hockey team’s only concern. Their score board didn’t work for most of the season last year, and it continued to break throughout this season. The lines on their field were misplaced multiple times as well. Team captains sent a short survey to parents to see how they felt about support from the student body and the school. One parent responded, “Sadly, for all the years our daughter has played, it’s always felt like field hockey has taken a back seat to other fall sports.”
One concern of the team earlier in the season was the lack of posts about field hockey on U-32’s athletics Instagram and Facebook accounts. Other sports, like football, soccer, and basketball are posted about frequently. Some players felt this contributed to a lack of fans at their games.
Before the field hockey quarterfinal game, the team members promoted the game on their Instagram stories, and social media. The game ended up having a large student section. One player expressed that the support was bittersweet. “It was sad we had to do so much work to get a student section when many other sports don’t have to do anything.”
This fall, the team decided they wanted to make a change. The field hockey coach, Dillon Burns and team captain, Alaina Beauregard had a meeting with the school’s athletic director to discuss the issues. There were two meetings.
Athletic director Hank Van Orman said he was unaware of the issue. “I was surprised because nobody said anything to me,” He explained that there are many things that happen for reasons that are not openly shown. For example, the grass cannot be immediately cut below 2 inches, otherwise the field would be destroyed. So over time it was able to be cut shorter.
The team hasn’t had the opportunity to play on the main stadium field, under the lights. Hank explained it is because of the inability of cutting the grass below two inches. They aren’t able to play under the lights because their field only has lights on one side of the field, and this will create shadows.
After the meetings with Van Orman, the field hockey’s grass length, the placement of the lines, and social media posts improved. While there’s still more to achieve, the team has already made an impact.
“I would say it’s slightly better,” a junior on the team said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s never gonna be perfect. Some sports are more prioritized over us and that’s just gonna be what it is. But I think the steps we’ve made to try to make it better have already been a little bit noticeable.”