On Friday, October 12, U.S. Men’s National Team member, Alex Grassi (Brookeville, MD), paid a visit to a Fundamental Field Hockey clinic in Rockville, Maryland. The Fundamental Field Hockey program at Wheaton Woods Elementary is headed by local coach and teacher, Cay Miller. Over 50 elementary school students attended the clinic on Friday, with more than half of those participants being male.
Grassi, a senior physics major at Franklin and Marshall College, has been playing since the first grade and was excited to help out the first timers.
“It was great to see so many kids being introduced to field hockey for the first time. I was reminded of my first day of field hockey in 1st grade. I was especially encouraged by the amount of boys that participated and how much fun they had,” said Grassi.
In addition to the instruction from Grassi, the elementary school students also received coaching from local high school teams, Churchill High School and Wooton High School, who were equally excited about the special guest.
"Being taught this unique sport, especially by a member of the National Team, is a great advantage and something these kids will take with them for the rest of their lives,” said Churchill's senior goalie Melanie Maino.
The Fundamental Field Hockey program at Wheaton Woods Elementary School applied and received the curriculum and Harrow field hockey equipment in early August. Since then local field hockey coach and teacher, Cay Miller, has conducted after school sessions and clinics for students. With the help of local club, DC Dragons, Fundamental Field Hockey has exposed the sport to local youth.
Wheaton Woods is also home to a growing Hispanic population, so Miller, who teaches ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) at the school, was excited to spread the sport to some of her students.“It was a really cool moment to see these kids with a stick in their hands for the first time today. They were excited to be doing something totally new to them.”
“After everybody else had walked off the field at the end of the session, one little boy named Sebastian walked back and picked up a stick and started dribbling around on his own. He asked if he could take a stick and a ball home over the weekend. Who knows, maybe this is the start of something big for him. Maybe we'll all be watching him in the Olympics someday” said Miller.
Fundamental Field Hockey is youth development initiative by USA Field Hockey to inspire participation and expose the sport to thousands of boys and girls nationwide by providing Harrow equipment and promoting fun physical activity. For more information on the program, visit www.usafieldhockey.com/youth or email firstname.lastname@example.org.