Executive Director Weekly Report

May 14, 2013, 3:09 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of May 12, 2013

Umpire Recruiting Campaign in full swing. By now, you have likely received the latest issue of FHLife and within the issue was a full page ad, labeled Get Back In The Game. Umpires are one of the three major pillars of the infrastructure of sport and we need to constantly recruit new folks (no matter their age) and help provide regular training for our existing group. Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Umpiring, is developing new recruiting opportunities and training regimens. It is all good, but mostly...we need you if you are a fresh college graduate, a parent, or someone interested in giving back and actually getting a lot back both from the gratification for providing a great service to athletes and financial rewards. After all as the saying goes ‘without umpires it is just a scrimmage’. The following is a note from Steve Horgan sent out late last week to our umpiring universe:

Hello Fellow Umpires,

As many of you can already see, quite a number of folks within USA Field Hockey are working extremely hard to help "Grow the Game" by creating new opportunities for novice and not so novice hockey enthusiasts. Just as a couple of examples, the 2013 Hockey Festival will be expanding to have U-14 / Boys / and U-21 male hockey added to the already largest hockey event in the world, and the 2013 Disney Jr. Showcase ( U-14 and U-12) is doubling the number of teams in attendance for this year. Along with the aforementioned events, Regional Club Leagues and Adult ( Post College) events are being organized around the country at a very fast rate. 

With this success, dedication and enthusiasm from many of our staff and members comes some challenges as well. The rate of expansion for the game is far surpassing the rate of expansion of the umpire numbers needed as we try to keep up with the growth. We have tried to get those who have played the game competitively to come to the umpiring side, but many either move on to playing recreationally  or get on with "real life" outside of hockey. Our attempts to get the younger (below age 19) players to take on umpiring is challenging with the conflicting demands of participating in Futures and USA Field Hockey Showcase events. Therefore, we have to begin "thinking outside the box" to recruit and educate new umpires. 

There is a huge number of field hockey umpires in this country that prefer to stay within their local area and umpire at the high school level only (NFHS). Most, if not all, were trained by USA Field Hockey member umpires who have taken the more active roles within the local umpiring boards. What we would like you to be part of is the changing of the culture and let everyone know that we are educating with consistency, using up to date technology and trying to recruit like never before. We have a long way to go and we are willing to consider any and all ideas that may help in the recruiting and retention of umpires. Our goal is to target any and all hockey enthusiasts that have an interest in umpiring with an emphasis on the long term future and overall stability of the umpire corps. We look to welcome everyone who is physically able and willing to keep up with the constant changes and speed of today's game.

We would like to ask your help in promoting USA Field Hockey Umpiring in your local areas as it will truly help in keeping up with the growth of the game. Feel free to pass on the USA Field Hockey umpiring contact information onto anyone interested (shorgan@usafieldhockey.com) or have them contact the Regional Umpire Coordinator for their region. We would also welcome any ideas or services that you may have or know of that will help in recruiting and retaining umpires associated with USA Field Hockey.

Loren Shealy, a rising junior on the University of North Carolina field hockey team, is one of five female finalists for the 2013 Sports Illustrated College Athlete of the Year Award. Five male and five female finalists were announced last Wednesday, and the winners will be featured an upcoming issue of SI, which hits newsstands on May 22. Winners also will be featured on SI.com. The award celebrates one female and one male collegiate student-athlete who have demonstrated excellent performance on the field and in the classroom, sportsmanship and commitment to community. Voting remains open until Wednesday, May 22, so cast your vote today!

Grow the Game Contest deadline is Friday, May 17. We have received wonderful Grow the Game videos over the last couple of weeks. A big thank you to everyone who has participated in our Grow the Game contest. There is still time to get your video in... and remember amateur home videos will be accepted! We are excited to share these videos with you in the coming weeks and look forward to announcing the winner of the $1,000 shopping spree. For more info on how to submit your video, visit usafieldhockey.com

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: “A new study found that certain fish use sign language to communicate. Apparently they have a sign for everything — except for “big metal hook.”

Have a great week!

Steve Locke
Executive Director

USA Field Hockey