On this Day:
Modern field hockey was born on this day in 1886 with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.
First Some History:
Although modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England, field hockey is one of the oldest team sports in the world, dating back nearly 3,000 years to the Greek classical era, where the sport closely resembled the modern Gaelic sport of hurling. The modern name “field hockey” first appeared in England in the 14th century when King Edward III issued a proclamation outlawing the practice of leisure sports by the working class.
After lying dormant in England for the next several centuries, field hockey reemerged in the post-Elizabethan British Empire and began working its way into English public schools in the 18th century. The modern form of the game grew directly from the format originally developed in the English school system, growing to the point where it rivalled sports such as rugby and soccer in terms of popularity.
When the British Empire expanded its borders around the globe in the 1800s, the British Army brought the game of field hockey with them, expanding the sport’s practice to the point where it is now one of the most popular sports in the world.
Modernizing and Developing Standards for the Game:
Field hockey reached its modern form in the 19th century as a game played between two teams of eleven players each. Teams compete on a standard 100 x 60 yard field and attempt to score goals by hitting a ball off the ground into a net guarded by the opposite team’s goalkeeper.
Blackheath HC (hockey club) was founded in London in 1849 as the first professional field hockey club, but the game truly reached its modern form a few years later when Teddington HC introduced the striking circle and changed the official ball to a sphere as opposed to a rubber cube. In 1886, the Hockey Association was founded in England, publishing a set of rules and standards to be observed by all organized field hockey teams.
The sport went mainstream in 1908 when it was included in the Summer Olympics in London, but the sport was dropped in 1924, leading to the formation of the Federation Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH), which exists as the governing body for all international field hockey to this day.
Hockey experienced its greatest level of success in British colonial India, where Calcutta HC was founded as the first professional field hockey club outside of England in 1885. The sport continued to grow at a blistering pace in India throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and when field hockey was reinstated as an Olympic sport in 1928, India proceeded to win the gold medal every year from 1928 to 1956. Field hockey has also experienced great success in the former colonies of Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Hong Kong, and the United States.
Field hockey is most widely practiced as a women’s sport in the USA and Canada where it is among the most popular women’s school sports. Because field hockey has been played by Americans since the time of British colonial rule, it has remained as one of the oldest college sports in the United States. Soon after the formation of the men’s professional field hockey teams in England, several women’s colleges in the United States formed the first women’s field hockey teams in America. College field hockey has grown in popularity to the point where it is now recognized by more than 250 U.S. colleges and universities. (as per https://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-field-hockey.htm)
First, a Story:
What does a good field hockey striker have in common with a magician? Both do hat tricks.
Second, a Song/Video:
Courtesy of LoveHockey and YouTube.com, here are The Best Field Hockey Goals of 2019 [Part 1].
In today’s video we will be showing you a selection of LoveHockey’s favourite field hockey goals from 2019 from competitions such as the FIH pro league and the hockey world cup. Goals include reverse stick goals, hits, slaps, drag flicks, penalty flicks, shootouts and deflection goals. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“Team sports not only help you get in shape and stay that way, but also are a great way to connect with people from different backgrounds and become part of a larger community.” – Quora via Forbes.com
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Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky