Executive Director's Report - Week of February 22
Several weeks ago we were speaking about the recreational element of field hockey. In other words, are there viable recreation opportunities to play field hockey for all ages of athletes especially those who are post collegiate? We already have in place two programs specifically for youngsters ranging from 5 to 11 years of age. Both of those programs, Stick Starz and Turf Tykes, are experiencing exploding success in 2010. Ask USA Field Hockey's Laura Darling. She is reporting 55 inquiries to produce events so far with an eventual goal of 1,000 kids participating in 2010, a completely do-able goal. We even have Stick Starz and Turf Tykes events in both Harlem and the Bronx. But instead of saying What about the Children?, maybe we should be saying What about the Adults? Or, better yet, What about Everyone?
Sandy Kinnee, CEO for Dita, is an artist by trade and genuinely innovative. Sandy attended one of our creative meetings last week. David Miller, USA Field Hockey Manager of Membership and Events, conducted the meeting. The purpose was to begin the process of developing programs for event organizers to partner with USA Field Hockey. It occurs to us that there are a fair number of existing organizers producing events outside of the purview of USA Field Hockey. David's approach is to create a business proposition for event organizers to become involved with our association. The involvement is meant to provide event organizers budget relief, top shelf insurance for comprehensive protection, and mechanisms to be qualifiers for some of our already over-subscribed USA Field Hockey owned events. David spent several hours during the previous week talking to private event organizers in various locales throughout the USA. His discussions were about determining needs and what USA Field Hockey can bring to the table for organizers. The major issues for organizers seem to be acquiring facilities for venue use, insurance, any type of budget relief that could be found and adding cachet to an event by being a qualifier. All of those items are do-able and David is working on a package for 2011 that we will unwrap for your examination by mid-summer. In addition, David has developed a boilerplate pro-forma for event directors to demonstrate profitability. All great stuff for existing and/or newly minted event producers.
In the meantime, back to Sandy and his creative meanderings. Sandy was obviously quite enthralled with the possibilities of re-establishing recreational outlets for everyone to play field hockey. He told me that hockey, played recreationally, was found liberally in many pockets of the USA in the 70s and 80s. What happened? Maybe we became spoiled by always wanting turf. It makes one wonder what was taking place before artificial turf was introduced. Whatever and however, Sandy has created a top-of-mind version of a poster encouraging hockey playing by families no matter if the game is on turf, or grass, or indoors. It is a great start for re-introducing a great sport to the mainstream.
This poster is an initial effort. Do you have suggestions to modify or improve what Sandy produced? Let me know. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
USA Field Hockey's website (www.usafieldhockey.com) is being modified. Jeff Gamza, USA Field Hockey Communications Director, has made subtle changes to our website. If you go to the site by hitting the link provided above you will note a new blog section with numerous bloggers, including members of our National Teams, who offer a unique perspective from the players' side. In the recent Women's National Team tour to Argentina, Rachel Dawson and Michelle Kasold wrote blogs and Katie Evans even provided some great video of the team off the pitch. An avid photographer, goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer snapped some action photos. Also, Jeff is making concerted efforts to update all areas of the site, so expect more features, more stories and more photos soon.
The Men. The men of this sport have been stepping it up. Even with a shortage of men available to play Canada in our recent series, our men turned in respectable performances, albeit losing efforts. Canada has qualified to go to the upcoming India Honda FIH Men's World Cup (the USA did not qualify), but the USA gave them a run for the money. Nick Conway, USA Field Hockey Men's National Team coach, was quite encouraged and sees good progression as the men's pool of athletes increases. Nick was particularly impressed with the performances turned in by the U17 Men's Team competing in Mexico for the Pan American Youth Championship. The men took a silver medal and looked sharp during the Gold Medal round, losing to Argentina 2-1. The USA men held Argentina to 0-0 at half-time. Ben Maruquin was the USA coach, and orchestrated powerful strategy against the Argentinean team. Good going, guys!
Assuming you have been paying attention to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, I hope you are saying "How about those Americans!" While the USOC did not provide an Olympic medal projection for these games, it appears the American Team is on track to set a record for medals won. The newer sports, such as Snowboard Cross, are just big fun to watch; and traditional sports, such as Speed Skating and Alpine Downhill, are also big fun because they are all high speed technical adventures. While some people may from time to time criticize the Olympic Games, the reality is that they aren't just some set of games: they are meaningful as people come together peacefully to compete in a cultural setting that may be totally different to their own way of living. It helps us, as athletes and observers, become a little more accepting of others; and, that really is the point.
Many of us on the Olympic summer side have been in regular contact with our winter brethren/sisteren (I don't think sisteren is a word; I just made it up but you get the point). The winter group is buoyant as many of the medals have been surprises.
From CBS' Late Show with David Letterman: "The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden is tonight. One of the big events is the "Going Nuts When the Doorbell Rings" competition. Tomorrow night is "Barking at a Dog on TV."
And, from Jimmy Kimmel Live!: "The Winter Olympics are under way in Canada. Skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, these are not sports. They're vacation activities. I feel like I'm watching someone's home movies."
Have a great week!
USA Field Hockey