Today, field hockey in the United States has not only a gender problem, but a race problem. Despite all of the best attempts of the United States Field Hockey Association and scholastic coaches, the game remains nearly the same as it has been since the introduction of the game into Philadelphia's Main Line and Boston-area private schools in the mid 1900s.

Though the style of the game has changed, the participants are still the same: the American player pool still consists primarily of Caucasian females, though gains have been made when it has come to class differences. Though the game is still more likely to be found in school districts where a lot of money is spent on students as well as private schools, good players are also found in rural areas and middle-class school districts.

To see the best of field hockey -- Division I rosters, the National Futures program, the U.S. National Team -- means having to look very hard for a role model for that minority looking to excel in the game.

Very few persons of color are on Division I rosters. There were only two persons, among the some 420 best young players selected to the 1999 USFHA National Futures Tournament, whose skin was brown.

Regardless of your beliefs, there is undoubtedly something wrong with this present-day picture. There is a feeling that it was easier in the 1970s for persons of color to play the game in the United States than it is today, thanks to the movement of the game deeper into suburbia, as well as economic factors like private-school tuition and the cost to enter the Futures program.

This series of stories is likely to incite passions, which it should. There is an inequity in the field hockey community which cannot be blamed on one or two people, but it will take more than one or two to solve.

And the solutions could not only help young African American women, but all who believe that education is something more than just books and classrooms.


If you have questions or concerns about any part of this series, you can email this site at topofthecircle@aol.com, and make your voice heard.

www.000webhost.com
1