Field hockey is a highly-popular international sport with approximately 3 million players around the world. Joining that global competitive scene for the first time, seventeen of our varsity field hockey player travelled to Singapore for a four-day hockey tour from February 11-15. The girls were hosted by United World College (UWC) families and, when they weren’t playing in high-level field hockey matches, enjoyed a taste of life in Singapore. In fact, the trip ended up being more than just about playing a game the girls love—it was also an opportunity to make new friends and learn about another culture and way of life. As 9th-grader Kyla Powell shared, “This trip has taught me so many things, not just about hockey. I really enjoyed staying with and getting to know my host family.”
Our field hockey girls won the hearts and respect of their opponents through determination and their refusal to give up—right to the last second of every game. They had the opportunity to play against athletes from the under-sixteen National team and the National Women’s team, as well as against club team Crescent and in a tournament against UWC. David Viner, Head Coach for the Singapore National Team, spoke with the girls during their match. He offered tactical advice and feedback on the girls’ performance during the first half of the game. Vinner said, “It’s tough, but you’ve got to learn to take risks. If your team plays defensively all the time you won’t move forward. This is the hardest individual ‘team sport’ to play. Every tackle is an individual contest. In this game, you must move forward together to hit goals. So you have to be willing to take risks.”
Reflecting on their matches against the National teams, Peter Walker (HS Varsity Field Hockey Coach) said, “I’m so proud of how the girls played. They have had a chance to compete against high performing teams that practice three times a week, all year round. Given that our season lasts a mere month and a half, it’s impressive that the girls have reached a skill level where they can compete and learn in this context.” Athletes facing superior players with a growth mindset will bounce back from defeat and learn from the experience. After three days of intense play, practice and feedback, the girls played their final match against UWC and won, with the final score of 5-3.
Even though five seniors will retire this year, younger players are coming up through the ranks. Yuki Kasda (Grade 12), captain of the Varsity Girls’ Field Hockey team, reflected on her experience: “I have played field hockey since the beginning of sixth grade. Every year since, my playing ability has improved, I have come to understand the importance of a team dynamic and have found my passion in the sport. Although this is my last year, the season has been wonderful. Singapore was a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish. I know that all of us seniors are sad to leave such an amazing team behind but I am confident of the team that was built this year. We (seniors) hope that our love for the sport will pass on and that next year’s field hockey team will be even better.”