Executive Director's Report - Week of April 5
By Steve Locke
In last week's report, we asked you to send comments relative to a proposal to create membership cards for USA Field Hockey members (other than the downloadable cards that are currently available). The response rate was at a high level which was encouraging as it means people are actually reading the report and interested in the day to day activity that goes on within USA Field Hockey. I received around 300 responses regarding the potential of plastic membership cards, and it was a mixed bag of opinions. There was a 60:40 mix with 60% favorable toward cards and 40% not favorable. Next week's report with have more in-depth coverage of that outcome, and it was indeed interesting.
This past week I was in San Diego at the US Olympic Training Center near Chula Vista. USA Field Hockey, along with the US Olympic Training Center, hosted the FIH World Cup Qualifier and hosted six international teams. The event's purpose was to provide to the winning gold medal team a slot in the upcoming FIH Women's World Cup to be staged later this year in Argentina. A little later I will speak about the competition, but first, the following is a portion of a memo I sent yesterday to our staff. They are a marvelous group and if you carefully read this you will see why:
Last week I took the position as an observer of all the activities going on in Chula Vista. It was a lengthy period of activity with an incredible amount of moving parts. I wanted to note a couple of those "moving parts". First of all was event production. Typically, most national governing bodies have local organizing committees doing the myriad of details to put on an event with the national office staff providing guidance and adherence to sideboards. USA Field Hockey is distinctly different. What I saw was a well-oiled machine putting together a world class event. Each of you involved in the event development, implementation of set up, and day to day operation did stellar work. I am so respectful of your work; it resembled the activity of a highly seasoned event production company. Good on you all; we are lucky to have you, and, a special thank you to Laura Darling for managing everything revolving around the event. Thank you for teaching me new tricks of event presentation in all facets of the event ranging from the "look", to in-depth attention to hospitality and protocol, and every other detail associated with production. Every FIH person I spoke to was duly impressed with the work coming out of our country. We are well positioned in the minds of the FIH.|
Believe me, this staff is great.
The second "moving parts" section had to do with our USA Field Hockey High Performance Team. I will paraphrase that piece just by telling you that we participated in the gold medal match and lost to Korea. With that loss we forgo an opportunity to go to the Argentina based world cup. But, it is not the end of the world. If one looks at the game objectively, our team was aggressive throughout, they demonstrated skill sets beyond those of the Koreans, and just had difficulty finishing the deal on around 6 opportunities during the second half. No getting around the fact that we are involved in sport and that adds up to competition. Sometimes you win; and sometimes the win does not come our way. So, what now? Our team of athletes and high performance professionals are tenacious and resilient in every way. The High Performance Team is re-strategizing and we will find a way. Our team is miles ahead of where they were athletically in international competition only a few years ago. This was a bump in the road, and I am betting on their future success!
Finally, since we are honoring Laura Darling in this week's report for her leadership at the World Cup Qualifier and she is from New Jersey, here is a reflection from Jay Leno:
From The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: "A New York doctor has finished a five year study on what smells have the biggest effect on New Yorkers. The smell New Yorkers like the most: vanilla. The smell New Yorkers like the least: New Jersey."