For the past quarter century, the quality of women athletes in all fields has grown tremendously. Many of these young people, however, do not have the perspective of those who have gone on before them. Today's teenager, for example, cannot possibly know what it was like for their forebears to enjoy the games they loved.

As an extreme case, I recall a conversation in the mid-1990s I had with a young woman who was perhaps the nation's best defensive midfield prospect in lacrosse. When I brought up the name "Gait," however, she had a puzzled look on her face.

"I don't know who you're talking about," she said. You might have heard the sound ringing throughout the pine trees surrounding that school: the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

I have always believed in the cliche which said, "You don't know where you are going unless you know where you've been." This is certainly the case in field hockey, where generation gaps have occurred in between the old guard and the new, between old-school and the Futures-era player. This series of stories tries to capture the essence of the greatest figures in the sport, letting them tell stories of their conquests, philosophies, and losses -- all with the aim of giving today's player a perspective on where the game is headed.

* With Angela Tammaro, Greenwich (Conn.) Academy is in good hands.

* Nancy Williams has gotten to 500 field hockey coaching wins and more than 1,100 scholastic wins by more than just hard work.

* Barb Major's voice is just one side of her personality.

* Betty Logan was able to create a life for herself out of what she called "this stupid little game."

* Susan Butz-Stavin has created a mini-version of the Australian Hockeyroos, right outside of Allentown, Pa.

* Jim Davis poured his heart and soul into field hockey for 30 years before his death in 2004.

* Linda Kreiser entered the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

* Lil Shelton kicks it "old school" at Severna Park, Md. to the tune of 14 championships.

* Barb Skiba has seen many changes from her perch at Pennington Hopewell Valley Central (N.J.).