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Tuesday Thoughts: Women Playing in a Wolfpack

November 15, 2022

Tuesday, Tuesday Thoughts, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Sports, Female Athletes

Arriving on the lakeside campus reminded me of my youth growing up on a lake and making my heart sing. Nestled in the Finger Lakes, about an hour and a half from my home, is the quaint campus of Keuka College my sports destination for the day. Mesmerized by its charm, I parked my car behind the Recreation Center, went inside to find one of the most likeable coaches I’ve ever met – Erika Profenno smiling and ready to make learning Field Hockey my goal for the day.

Women’s Athletic Network players of the day
Choosing a PINK stick, of course.

Seven business women, some with field hockey experience or moms of some of the Keuka College Wolverines Women’s Field Hockey team, arrived and started networking. We met there to caravan to the field where the players were eager to teach us this historic game.  You might not know but field hockey’s origins started in the 18th-century making it one of the oldest team sports in history.  Some of the business women brought field hockey sticks, goalie pads, and shin guards to uniform up for the game.

As we arrived at the field looking over the campus and lake, the stars of the show greeted us.  They were giggly, exuberant team players ranked from freshman to seniors who play for Coach Erika. They were well- trained, well-behaved, and excited to teach a bunch of middle-aged women how to play the sport they loved on a brisk Saturday morning.  As a college student, I cherished Saturday mornings so I can’t imagine being this happy myself if I had to rise and instruct a bunch of 50-year-old women.

Led by Senior Captain Makaela Mills, we learned how to “flick”, “strike”, “drive,” and “defend.” I easily perfected the drive motion since my energy level was high, but flicking the round compact ball, that fit in the palm of my hand although larger than a golf or lacrosse ball, was a tougher move for me. My friend Jill Bates said, “I keep thinking I’m driving a golf ball and raising my arms too high behind me.”  Coach Profenno came to our rescue giving us detailed guidance.  If there is one thing I’ve learned being taught so many different sports in a small span of time it’s that it is easy to confuse strokes and movements between them.

Soon we were assigned to two different teams, a mix of women and players, and lined up for two 8-minute halves for a scrimmage. FUN! I was put on the offensive line so I could score a goal. Behind me was a line of middies and then defenders and our goalie, a non-goalie player from the team who wanted to try out goal for once (she did great by the way).  I made both teams name themselves – we were called F2 – the Feminist Field Hockey Team and the other team chose the name Plan A. (check out our TikTok Video of the scrimmage at this link).

As we ran wildly chasing the ball with our sticks in front of us, we laughed and laughed and tried our best to score. I must admit I didn’t score and our team didn’t win but kudos to Plan A for their expertise and 2 goal win. At the end of the scrimmage, which I wish went longer, we gathered for a huddle, sticks in the air, and smiles on our faces for a large group photo.

Women TIES members giving career and life advice to the students over pizza

We headed back to the Recreation Center to have a pizza networking party complete with a career and business discussion for us to give back to these sharp students. I gifted them each a Chicken Soup for the Soul “Running for Good” book that held my Boston Marathon story to inspire them further in life to play and give.  To my surprise, they gifted me with my very own Keuka College Wolverine Jersey #24 which I absolutely love.

The experience was truly amazing. It was fun sport to learn and play – especially if you like running and being on a team. On this Monday morning, I am so proud to now be a part of the Wolf Pack – a Wolverine in heart and spirit.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – The latest Keuka College Field Hockey Wolverine
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