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October 25, 2012

Low numbers threaten field hockey future

Players, coaches push to keep sport at CCS

Field hockey sends a greater portion of its athletes to college on scholarships than any other sport. It had the third highest number of spectators of all the competitions at the 2012 London Olympics, and is the third most popular sport in the world, according to the websites for the United States Olympic Committee and Most Popular Sports. 

Emma Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger in all eight “Harry Potter” films, is an avid player, and so was the late Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in the 2008 blockbuster movie “The Dark Knight.”

Despite that, in the United States, field hockey is struggling and Cooperstown Central School District which used to defy the odds where field hockey was concerned, is feeling the effect.

“We need to build the field hockey back to where it used to be,” CCS Athletic Director Monica Wolfe said after last Thursday’s game. “I remember back in high school we played Cooperstown. They had a very strong team.”

This year CCS does not have a junior varsity or varsity team because of lack of players. The school came very close to cutting the modified team for this year, too.

“If we don’t have enough girls to field a team, then it’s not practical to advance to the next level, which would be JV or varsity,” CCS Superintendent C.J. Hebert explained. “If there aren’t enough girls to fill out a modified team, I’m not sure where we would garner more interest because that’s where the participation levels come from — the girls who are already participating in the program.”

Hebert said the lack of participation in field hockey was probably a direct result of the enrollment decreasing at CCS.

“There are fewer students,” Hebert said. “This district 10 years ago had 1,200 students. We’re down to 900 at this point.”

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