More to Varsity Sports than a winning record

By Jonah Seifer
Published: September 2009

For many athletes, winning games can be difficult enough. It is even harder to persevere when the team does not have the support of the community around them.

“It does get frustrating, senior and co-captain of South’s Field Hockey Team Estie Martin said. “It is hard to keep people motivated and focused.

Too often, high school students misunderstand the amount of hard work and effort needed to just play at the Varsity level. Some see a team with a losing record and immediately pin them with a reputation of failure.

“Some [students] have no idea what it is like to suit up and make a commitment to a team, Athletic Director Scott Perrin said.

The Field Hockey team looks to defy the negative stereotypes through their play on the field and their overall commitment to the sport.

Both captains of the Field Hockey Team believe that success is a product of increased support from the community.

“More support [would] definitely make us feel good, if nothing else, and would probably pressure us into working even harder, Rebecca Raftery, senior and co-captain, said.

Martin thinks it is critical that the student body takes the team and its dedication to field hockey seriously. She believes this will help improve the team’s reputation and, in turn, its results.

“If we get recognized as a legitimate team, then our program will grow, she said.

This Lions’ squad is not letting a skewed public image become a hindrance or distraction. “The only way we can go is up, so we are giving 110 percent every game, Raftery said.

The Girls’ Field Hockey Team plays with a chip on their shoulders, using their frustration as a motivator.

“It drives us to work harder when other people tell us that we are not a real team, Martin said. “We do not get upset about it.

Field Hockey Coach Kathleen Marucci has made several strategic changes to address last season’s offensive troubles. A new lineup, with five players on offense, three playing midfield,,and two on defense, promises more scoring opportunities.

South’s field hockey program is one of the youngest programs in the Dual County League (DCL). Many of South’s players have little to no prior field hockey experience, as there are no recreation leagues for the sport in Newton. Most freshmen are still learning the game as they compete.

A lack of facilities and resources has presented some challenges for the team, as well. The team is one of only two in the DCL that does not play and practice on turf. Unfamiliarity with turf puts South at a major disadvantage.

“Field hockey, with such a small ball, is a completely different game on turf, Raftery said.

Since South’s new turf fields will not be available for the team this season, they must continue practicing on grass at Lincoln Field in Waban.

The team has won one game since the 2007 season, but the program is getting better. This year’s squad scored three goals in the first five games of the season, greatly surpassing two goals throughout the entire 2008 season. The Lions even scored against Weston, the DCL’s defending champions.

The Field Hockey team is ready to win and to prove that they should be treated with the same respect and loyalty as other South athletic programs.

“[Coach Marucci has] named at least six games that we should be able to win, so that has definitely motivated us more, Raftery said.

They are anxious to prove themselves on the field this year and know that their hard work will yield better results. Their hard work and dedication to the sport proves that a team is defined by more than just a winning record.

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