AN APPRECIATION

Barbie Morgan, midfielder, Severna Park (Md.)

One in an occasional series.

By Al Mattei

Founder, TopOfTheCircle.com

The end of the 1990s in Severna Park field hockey has been supremely triumphant on the field, with seven championships in eight seasons to close out the decade.

But as the decade closes, there is one member of the Severna Park hockey family who is not present -- a midfielder with potential that will, unfortunately, be forever unrealized.

This website first saw Barbie Morgan in the summer of 1998, at the Pocomoke City (Md.) Playday, where some 24 teams gathered for a full day of minigames.

Many of the best in the state of Maryland were there: Bethesda-Chevy Chase, host Pocomoke City, and the Severna Park Falcons.

Some coaches used their set eleven, giving their players a chance to work together as a unit. Others, however, tried various combinations, juggling lineups and giving players long looks in situational play.

Severna Park was one of the latter teams. While star forward/midfielder Sara Zuckerman was tooting a whistle as a reserve umpire, other Severna stars were also sitting out the occasional game, letting others try to win their way onto the varsity roster.

One of the candidates stood out because of a long silver stick and the fact that she towered over opponents and teammates. You could see that the quickness and the skill set were just about ready to come together in a sizable package capable of playing anywhere in the back six of a good team.

"Extremely tall, good tackler," say the notes in one scouting book, "If she can be quicker, she'll be in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference)."

Barbie Morgan never got to realize that potential. She jumped off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge less than two months after the Falcons won yet another field hockey championship during the 1998 season. It was weeks before her body was found.

Suicide is one of the most irrational, futile acts which can be committed in Western civilization by an individual. It is hard to know why a young woman, with everything going for her, would choose to end it all.

After all, Morgan had her entire life ahead of her. She was a true scholar as well as a good hockey player, and had all sorts of choices ahead of her that many others in her peer group can only dream about.

Morgan's death is part of a disturbing trend in this country. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24, and is the second leading cause for college students. Not even homicide has generated these kinds of numbers, despite what law-and-order types would have you believe.

Numbers cannot quantify why Barbie Morgan is but a memory. Numbers cannot quantify potential as a field hockey player, either. But this corner knew that her potential as a player was limitless, and it is sad that we will never know how good she could have been.

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