Ridgewood High School is commonly regarded among all of Bergen County for its excellence in athletics. Our school has a wide variety of sports to choose from for both genders. However, field hockey, a female dominated sport commonly present at many high schools, is not offered by RHS athletics.
If field hockey were to be played at RHS, more students would be able to participate in sports that do not already, which will indefinitely boost the overall health of the student body. Put just, field hockey would be another option and outlet for students to exercise. Like many other sports, it provides a great cardio workout, builds muscular strength, improves coordination and balance, builds teamwork and communication skills, boosts endurance, and improves speed. However, despite the benefits, adding a new sport to the school could simultaneously increase injuries and specific health risks. Studies have shown that female field hockey players have a 62% chance of having three or more injuries. Injuries include lower back pain, hip, knee, or ankle tendonitis, and stress fractures in the lower body.
The RHS High Times wanted to investigate student interest in the addition of a field hockey team, so a couple of female athletes were interviewed on the matter.
When asked about her thoughts, freshman softball player Kaylin Marshall explains, “I think it’s a good idea because a lot of other nearby schools have a team. Also, I feel like a lot of girls would go out for it even if they aren’t very experienced. It’s not a sport where you have to spend years learning the rules and the mechanics, so I think it would be a good option for new athletes.”
Sophomore athlete Maggie Heuer adds on, “I also think that it would give girls another athletic option in the fall and, like Kaylin said, you don’t need to have a lot of experience so people won’t be as scared to try out because they know that everyone is starting off fresh just like them.”
Not only are field hockey teams prevalent at the high school and collegiate levels, but they are part of the Summer Olympics.
“I think it is super cool that girls who participate in the sport can have big dreams of hopefully making it to the Olympics one day,” freshman volleyball player and crew member Lauren Sudol says. “Every young athlete hopes to make it big one day, and field hockey is a sport that gives girls the chance to make it onto the Olympic stage.”
If added to the list of girls fall sports at RHS, getting players for field hockey would compete with cross country, cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, and volleyball (all of which are fall sports). As a result, there is an evident lack of interest only due to the popularity of other games.
Junior athlete Christina St. John continues this alternative perspective, saying, “I feel that not a lot of girls would be interested in joining since it’s not that popular in our town. There aren’t any opportunities for people to start at a younger age. You would need enough people to sign up for a whole team, and none of them would have prior experience.”
Another junior athlete, Casey Kandel, disagrees, saying that despite the lack of interest at the high school right now, “[field hockey] has the potential to become popular, but [the town] would need to make a league for middle schoolers as well, as they do for volleyball.”
Field hockey has yet to be introduced into the Ridgewood school district due to a few roadblocks. A field hockey field has different dimensions than other sports fields in Ridgewood. The sport also requires new equipment, like different shaped goals. These issues, combined with the questions of health and interest have stopped any progress towards making a field hockey team.
Maggie Heur, a sophomore athlete, hopefully, adds that to make a legitimate effort, “The initiative would first need to be taken in the younger age groups and then grandfathered into the high school.”
The question over the addition of a field hockey team at RHS has evidently gauged high levels of student attention, but to secure legitimate funding and action, it is clear that progress must be made from the ground up.
Graphics: Maraea Garcia