As part of USA Field Hockey's Post- Collegiate HARROWines series, staff member Kait Mitchell catches up with Team Captain Liz Sanders for a quick Q & A.
As the back and forth chatter continued to flow during the 2013 Harrow Cup draft conference call, Sanders made conventional strategizing of x’s and o’s look like mere child’s play. Mulling over hours of accumulated research on two illuminated MacBooks Sanders repeatedly glanced over at a whiteboard of meticulous handmade notes in a carnival of colors. As the Harrow team captain of the Vipers and an ambassador of post-collegiate play, Sanders doesn’t take her responsibility lightly.
Sanders enters her third year as the volunteer assistant coach at Indiana University after spending six seasons as an assistant coach at Ball State University. In addition, she currently runs the adult field hockey club in the Bloomington area, Head to Toe Field Hockey. Sanders has dedicated her spare minutes to give the Midwest community more opportunities to play high-level field hockey. They say where your heart lies you invest your time. If this is true, it's easy to see where Sanders' passion is rooted.
USA Field Hockey: How did you select your team?
LS: I have been managing Head to Toe field hockey for about five years on my own and playing with the league for even longer. So from there, I pulled a lot of friends and registered contacts off the cuff but that wasn’t enough. Generally speaking, the captains went after the same people. I don’t have any fantasy football experience and was naïve to this sort of draft process. I reached out to a few people including those who participate in fantasy football and got a valuable piece of advice that helped shape my team. I was told to explore and research as many players as possible.
USA Field Hockey: What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
LS: The real answer is winning. [Laughs] That’s just how I’m wired. But honestly I’m anxious for this weekend. I can’t say enough great things about Harrow Cup. From an outside perspective the idea was just chatter at first. But as it started becoming a reality and understanding all of the resources that are being used with really unknown returns, it’s amazing. It is a tremendous honor to be a captain and to play a part in all of this.
USA Field Hockey: What will you do with your share of the prize if your team wins?
LS: We as a team have talked about giving back somehow. We’re not mandating that as a group but as an individual I will give back to some youth organization.
USA Field Hockey: As a player and a coach is there a certain motto or mantra you have held onto for motivation?
LS: The player in me is intrinsically motivated. I want our team to win and contribute. As a captain, I recognize I have a diverse team of those in their 40’s to those who just graduated. When it comes to motivating them I had to consider what’s too much. For the three weeks leading up to the Cup I would search Google and find a quote that hits me hard and send it their way. This week’s quote is from an unknown author: ‘Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.’ I used those quotes to encourage everyone to pick up a stick and keep their training up.
USA Field Hockey: Why is post-collegiate play important to you?
LS: So many people say, ‘Liz, this tournament is made for you.’ This is the type of opportunity I’ve been waiting to compete in and wished for, for so long. There is nothing more I love than to play hockey but not everyone wants to play at an international level or has the option to with a family, graduate school or wherever they are in life. Unlike top countries, in the U.S. we lack in making strides in growing our post- collegiate game. But with a tournament like Harrow Cup we’re getting there. I don’t know if I can put into words how excited, how thrilled I am to be a part of this movement.