by Allyson Osborne, Harrow Sports Marketing Intern
June 2008 was the first time I was exposed to field hockey. Up to that point, the only hockey I was exposed to was the more common form of hockey, Ice Hockey. I would often be placed in full goalie equipment and told to stand in the net in our driveway so my older brother could practice his shooting. The road trips traveling to a different rink each weekend would take a lifetime in a child’s mind. And now it was my turn to play!
Standing in small groups based on our grade, I was scared. I was shy. I did not want to be there alone. We were handed an orange stick (which I still have today), shin guards, and a mouth guard that was much too large to fit in our mouths. As the week progressed, I could not coordinate my feet to prevent them from hitting a ball. When the camp concluded, I vowed I would never play field hockey again because I believed I could never get my feet out of the way enough to play.
Fast forward to my seventh-grade year when junior high sports rolled around. I had stopped growing at that point, to a solid five feet of anger. My volleyball dreams were forgotten. Soccer was not an option because I played too aggressively and would check anyone who got close enough to me. Thankfully, I was persuaded to try field hockey again.
This time I knew I was going to use my feet. Not for fouls or tripping opponents but to be the defender of the goal. I was going to be a goalie. All because of my initial introduction to Field Hockey and how I couldn't get my feet out of the way. Years later and I am still happily playing as a goalie.
The camp I participated in 2008 was Big Sister Little Sister, which is a camp that still runs today. This camp has been attended by thousands of young girls eager to learn the sport. It is run through Solanco School District’s Varsity Field Hockey program, and it provides an opportunity for young players to experience their first love of field hockey. Teaching them the fundamentals of the game and laying the foundation for a lasting passion. The camp is run each year for a week in June, and is offered to girls ranging in age from preschool to 8th grade.
Big Sister Little Sister is coached by the varsity players and monitored by the high school coaching staff at Solanco. The camp has been running for over fifteen years. The camp was originated and run by head coach Deb Atkins from 2002-2017. Big Sister Little Sister is now run by the new coaching staff of Whitney Hawkins and Kylee Garman. A large turnout is expected for the 2019 camp.