Not Just For Girls: Men’s Field Hockey, Skirt is Optional

We’d like to think that in this country, especially in the sports world, men and women are equal; thanks to title IX, girls can now wrestle, play ice hockey, and get the same amount of scholarship money. For the most part, this is all well and good, except for in one area: field hockey. America is not disgraced in very many sports; even the U.S. soccer team is making a name for itself nowadays. But what about the men’s field hockey team? The team hasn’t even made it to the last two Olympics, in which teams like New Zealand played. Honestly, how can we be second best to a team known as the Kiwi’s? This trend needs to change, and it needs to change quickly. For any country to gain respect in a world game, it needs to have viable high school programs. As you know, in most every high school in this country, men’s field hockey is not even an option. In fact, most people here chuckle at the notion of it. Well it’s time that the U.S. gained some respect in this sport, and it’s time that we as a country embrace the game. Before you turn the page with the thought of 20 men running around in blue-key-head attire, I would like to point out that the notion that field hockey and skirts go hand in hand is actually quite false. Mark Robinson, friend of resident Scot Rory MacRae ’05 and player for the Edinburgh University men’s field hockey team claims that guys have a choice between shorts and skirts, and that “most guys wear shorts.” However, we should take this with a grain of salt, as he also says, “I’m Scottish so ‘skirts,’ as you guys call them, are a day-to-day thing!” Skirts aside, men’s field hockey is not a sport for the weak. Pads are not allowed, and toughness is essential. “There are plenty of scares to go along with the game…broken noses, teeth, fingers, hands, toes. It can be rough sometimes.” Broken teeth? Is that even possible? Sounds to me like a game more for Eric Lindros than Hilary Duff. Not only do field hockey players have incredible fortitude, they know how to have a good time. When asked if he and his teammates do well with the ladies, Mark replied “Yeah we do!” Not convinced? According to MacRae himself, “When I go out with field hockey players, we stay out until the sun rises over the highlands.” Beat that, Tom Brady. The wonderful thing about the sport of field hockey is that while it requires toughness, it’s not necessary to be on four different kinds of steroids to be any good at it. “You don’t need to pad up to the eyeballs to play,” Mark said, “and you don’t need to be six feet, eight inches tall and built like the empire state building.” Want to play a sport as tough and demanding as football in your 140-pound frame? Field hockey is the sport for you. It seems as though we can’t get over the idea that field hockey is not a sport for both genders; but why can’t we accept field hockey for the coed sport that it is? It has everything anyone could ever want: skill, toughness and endurance, on and off the field. Too skinny to play football? Too uncoordinated to play soccer? Too sane to run cross-country? Field hockey could be a very viable alternative. We just need to get over ourselves. It’s time for some people to stop hiding behind the skirts of our female counterparts and play a sport that was meant for everybody.