Weekly Report Week of February 25 2013

Feb. 26, 2013, 2:28 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of February 25, 2013

The first 2013 USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournament (NIT) is this weekend in Richmond, VA. Several years ago at the NIT, we began the process of Town Hall Meetings. Early in my tenure, I found there were many areas in which we deal that our constituencies were having little or no input. The first Town Hall Meeting at the NIT in Virginia Beach really illustrated that problem. Since that time, we have had numerous Town Hall Meetings and many times have created Task Forces to deal with issues brought up during the meetings. The task forces always are composed of folks from various of our constituencies. They generally have worked well. As a result of task force work, we now have programs such as FUNdamental Field Hockey…a base development program; we have instituted a full time Director of Umpires in the person of Steve Horgan and are developing more and more educational opportunities for umpires; we created the USA Field Hockey National Club Championship(s) and have also created new qualifiers (the idea was the creation of more and more places to play and to create a legitimate national championship for clubs); we have worked on a pipeline for men, a program that is still in process and a much different paradigm than that for women; and, in March, we are about to initiate a task force oriented around developing recreational play (so, the collegiate opportunity is not the only driver to play both pre and post collegiately, and will have an orientation around both genders). Our Town Hall Meetings have mostly been positive exercises with only an occasional bit of negativity. Overall, they have been productive events.

We are about to have two more Town Hall Meetings at each NIT over the next two weekends. The first, this weekend, will be staged at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday in the Richmond Convention Center. The second will be held in the Virginia Beach Convention Center at 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 10. There will be signs posted at registration and elsewhere identifying the location and everyone is invited. The only caveat is that we ask that problems/issues be presented in a dignified fashion that perhaps solutions can be mentioned as well. Even if solutions are not evident, the idea is to move upward so we are productive and positive. I look forward to seeing many of you at the two Town Hall Meetings we will conduct this weekend and next.

The FIH World League 2 events in Rio are underway The FIH’s World League 2 event is about to get under way in Brazil. We have sent both our men’s and women’s senior teams down there plus a sundry group of officials and umpires. It is one expensive adventure, but critical to our potential international success as we aim potentially at FIH World Cup qualification and eventually Olympic Games qualification. The Rio turf is away from the city and in the countryside, but even with its somewhat remote setting we think we will have good communication back to the states. Our communications manager, Ashley Meunier, will be on site and providing up-to-dates on our website and, if possible, through Twitter. This should be exciting…our first senior team international competition of the year. Best wishes to our teams, their support staffs and our coaches, Craig Parnham, women’s national team coach, and Chris Clements, men’s national team coach.

A Boy with a Stick Sound strange? It may be a little wacky, but it will be a tag line for a new campaign we are bringing on through the creative genius of artist Sandy Kinnee. Sandy is one of the creative souls who has helped transform our magazine, FHLife,  from a boring quarterly traditional national governing body publication into one with great photography, some great stories, and, as a result, we hope, has become more of a coffee table publication (i.e. not one you think of as trash and immediately launch toward the wastebasket).

Sandy’s latest creativehockeybrainblast deals with the recruiting of boys into the sport. It goes without saying that hockey in the USA is generally perceived as a female sport. For boys, there apparently is a stigma perceived because of that perception.  On a global basis, the reality is that the sport has  more males participating than women. I keep hearing in global circles that hockey is the fourth largest team sport in the world. I don’t know if that is actually true, but we’ll run with it and also think if boys begin to get to know the athleticism needed, the fun to be had, and that almost all body types can be successful…we think we have a homerun…I mean a goal scored. For boys, the sad reality in this country is that if a boy is not successful in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, or perhaps soccer he will often consider himself not as a successful athlete…and drop away from sports period. Hockey gives boys a great outlet to prove themselves as great athletes in a safe, fast moving sport. To the left is the first photo in a series that will feature A Boy with a Stick.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: “A 104-year-old woman is complaining that she can’t put her real age on Facebook because the birthdates only go back as far as 1910. Facebook said it will solve the problem by either adding the dates or just waiting it out.”

Have a great week!

Steve Locke 

Executive Director
USA Field Hockey