The 39th annual California Cup (aka Cal Cup) took place in Moorpark, CA over Memorial Day Weekend. I was there. It was a marvelous event with wonderful breezy California weather. Two thousand athletes from an untold number of countries suddenly appeared in Southern California. There was a range of athletes from age 4 on upward to the mid 70s. The group was varied with a multitude of cultures and ethnicities. The diverse composition of the competitors and audience was and is not something you see every day in our country even though we are the “melting pot”. The conforming reality to the event was passion for hockey. Sometimes, there was an over-abundance of passion as the “passion” would frequently spill over on the pitch during particularly intense matches. But, overall, it was a love-in for hockey, and, especially, if you watched the youngest of all of the athletes. The under 8s were just a blast to watch. Sometimes their parents were, too. Overall, Cal Cup was an event that every sport aspires to have (and, field hockey has an abundance in addition to Cal Cup with the ESPN Showcase, the Disney Rise Games, NIT, Festival, Futures, Stick Starz, Turf Tykes, et al). All are family oriented activities and many of them provide everyone in the family a chance to play.
Congratulations to Tom Harris, Billie Ahluwalia, and the hundreds of volunteers who put the event together and implemented it seamlessly. Thanks to the hockey venders who spent endless hours in the heat being available to the huge crowds. A big thanks to the umpires and all the officials who dedicated countless (and, often thankless) hours on the pitch, and the biggest thanks of all goes to the moms and dads who introduced and supported their kids in hockey, and then dedicated an entire holiday weekend to be a part of the joy of this hockey extravaganza.
Also during Cal Cup, we had a spirited Town Hall Meeting at Moorpark College. In attendance were approximately 35 well connected field hockey advocates from various locales throughout the USA. The predominate number of participants were from the Moorpark area and their principal concerns revolved around the growth and support of boys/men field hockey. Nick Conway, USA Field Hockey’s Men’s National Team Coach, was on hand to provide answers to questions previously submitted, and I thought one statistic he presented in particular was interesting. Since I watch financials closely, the statistic he used and I found interesting hovered around the financial world of the high performance teams within USA Field Hockey. In 2010, we have a six figure investment from the USOC factoring in the hard dollar components of their allocation to us. It is exclusively dedicated to coaching advancement, the women’s national team and the development of the women’s pipeline. We receive that allocation from the USOC as our women have performed to the level needed to qualify for funding. In addition to the USOC allocation, USA Field Hockey budgeted $787,691 for the women’s side of the ledger for high performance, and coaching development. It sounds like a lot. It is. But, of course, we need more.
On the men’s side of the journal, no USOC money is allocated as we haven’t quite yet met the measure for USOC funding. But USA Field Hockey budgeted $555,413 for the men’s program. If, in the simplest of terms, one takes a look at the per capita funding for the men’s side verses the women’s side, our men receive substantially more per capita than the women as there is a measurably higher number of women within the high performance programs. I will be the first to admit that logic is elementary as there are many other factors at play. But, we do invest and as we go forward we will want to invest more as resources become available. The quid pro quo is that the men’s teams will keep elevating their performances, and we have seen some of that occur this year.
This past weekend the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors met in Colorado Springs. As I write the weekly reports the Thursday and Friday the week prior to the release on every Tuesday, I cannot speak to the outcomes of the Board meeting, but I will next week. I suspect a majority of the report will be dedicated to the Board determinations from the meeting.
And, finally from USA Field Hockey Marketing Director Simon Hoskins: “I am delighted to announce Longstreth is extending their long standing sponsorship of USA Field Hockey through 2012. Longstreth is now the inaugural presenting sponsor of USA Field Hockey’s Junior High Performance program and will play a key role in supporting our young elite athletes as they strive to be the best they can be, and for some to represent their country. Longstreth continues to be a key player in our sport and have an unmatched offering of equipment and apparel.”
And, finally, as this is the time of the year for graduating from high schools and colleges from throughout the USA, a little inspiration:
Have a great hockey week!
USA Field Hockey