written by Team Harrow Athlete and USA Field Hockey Women's National Team Member Ashley Hoffman
When I was younger, creating my own stick and brand was never even a thought. I feel honored and humbled to be able, but more importantly, to be trusted to be a role model for young girls like I once was. I take that responsibility very seriously, as I know all of us on the national team do. I started playing field hockey in second grade and had dreams of going to the Olympics by fourth grade. Since then, I’ve realized that field hockey is more than us as individuals, or our team’s upcoming events. It is a community that you will be a part of for your whole life. I hope that during my time on the national team, and after, I can be an active member of this community, and connect with people in meaningful ways. Apart of my journey is working with Harrow Sports. With them, I am able to be visible and available for athletes in the U.S. Creating this stick was just another way of sharing a piece of me with the field hockey community that I love. First and foremost, thank you Harrow Sports for giving me this opportunity.
The AH13 stick is extremely special to me, and a lot of thought went into it. I saw this as an opportunity to use my platform to uplift another community that I believe in, the LGBTQ+ community. While people will play with the stick for all kinds of reasons, when I play with my stick it is a statement of support and affirmation for folks that find themselves, in any capacity, outside of the mainstream and culturally accepted identities. I want the rainbow to be a reminder to love, be proud of and care for your authentic self. A self that isn’t fixed, but is growing and evolving. If just one person sees my stick and feels accepted, I will have accomplished what I set out to do. As a field hockey community, I hope that we can together continue to spread awareness, create a safe space, and uplift voices of and for LGBTQ+ athletes.
Ultimately, I know that a stick is a very personal thing. When I was younger, I hand-picked and treasured each new stick I got, and trusted that it wouldn’t fail me when I needed it (even though I controlled it). This stick is by far my favorite. I hand-picked this stick as well, down to the bow, colors and detailing, and am sharing it with you. It is a small piece of me, and I know that you will be able to trust it in the seconds and milli-seconds when you need it most.