American field hockey began in pockets of the East, but has very few adherents in the Deep South. Whether it is because of the aggressiveness of the sport or the unwillingness of athletic directors to expand their girls' athletic curriculum to add the sport, the game's growth has been stunted in a very important area of the nation. Here is a series of stories of success stories with a Southern flavor.

* Tupelo (Miss.) has a winter after-school program which welcomes everyone, including male and minority players.

* The University of the South in Tennessee has been on the cusp of greatness in the late 1990s.

* You wouldn't think someone who learned the game of field hockey in Tuscaloosa, Ala. would be a good coach? After a dozen state championships, there are no doubts about the ability of Lil Shelton.

* Melissa Moore has been a figure in South Carolina field hockey for some 30 years.