EGR FIELD HOCKEY MAKES HISTORY WITH 1905 SCRIMMAGE
Seniors from the High School’s Class of 2018 decide to step back in time to experience what life may have been like playing their sport when it first started. Little did they know, they would also take a whole community with them.
October 22, 2017, 5:00 PM Wealthy Elementary Field, Grand Rapids, Michigan Michigan Advance Newspapers
On Sunday October 22 at 5 pm, the East Grand Rapids varsity and junior varsity field hockey teams made history when they invited the community to a never-been-done before, incredible recreation of the first collegiate field hockey match played in America. The subject match occurred in 1905 and brought together Bryn-Mawr College (PA) and Harvard (Radcliffe) of Massachusetts. East Field Hockey’s committee of 6 parents, along with 40 players, Coaches and local field hockey fans spared no detail in creating an impressive time warp for attendees.
Admission was only a dime (.10) and the atmosphere was one of great fun including 1905 period concessions, vintage newspapers, costumes & roasted peanuts, popcorn & hotdogs! The players for both teams wore bulky shirts, ties and ankle-length skirts with lace-up boots. They chose a remote field without the modern lights and stripes on the fields to recreate the actual grass pastures theyoften played in. They even used antique sticks provided by the National Field Hockey Association and on loan from the Olympic US Archives in Colorado. Historians and carpenters joined forces to transform and stage the field as it would have looked in 1905 with period automobiles, bicycles, carriages, period concessions included hot roasted peanuts, coney dogs, Cracker Jacks, creme sodas, etc., a brass band and a Victrola playing records from the time. Children filled the field, strolling around in period clothing selling souvenir programs that are being creating by the high school journalism students to resemble a full 1905 newspaper.
The senior girls on the varsity field hockey team had recently completed a photo shoot recreating the picture of the 1905 team which was featured not only in local West Michigan Media but also in 22 digital and print media sources around Michigan and then over 80 hockey related blocks and media sites around the world. The players on the team were blown away to receive a phone call from Bryn Mawr Field Hockey, whose Head Coach Mr. Victor Brady flew to W. Michigan to participate in the day and even video taped his current “Bryn Mawr” womens team’s spirit cheer and sent it to the EGR players who would represent the first Bryn Mawr team in the scrimmage. The seniors were also provided with the bios of the 1905 players they are impersonating and sat for an interview in their characters.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
Mother Nature tried her best to intervene on the day of the scrimmage, providing the biggest downpour of rain it could muster up that day, but something happened: No One Left. More and more curious onlookers popped their umbrellas and came. They came on strollers, on bikes, in cars, on foot and stayed for hours and hours, enjoying hot dogs, peanuts and cheering on the muddy players entertaining the crowd with field hockey played in long skirts and ties! Magically, the Wealthy Elementary Field filled with sports lovers of all ages, but also with real actual Harvard & Bryn Mawr alumni who travelled from around the region to be there, and hoards of curious members of the public who had never before witnessed a field hockey game! With vintage old-style announcers and girls dressed in gowns to sing the national anthem, it was a site to behold and never forget!
Somewhere in Time started as a fun photo shoot and team bonding experience for 9 senior players and the idea was received so well that the community got behind it and supported it from start to finish with donations of time, money & antique cars and bikes, costuming and more! “Somewhere” grew quickly with community support and great fun and welcomed the likes of tv stations, the Mayor and local politicians, over two dozen Division I, II and III coaches and players, referees, alumni and future field hockey athletes to boot. It also spread around the globe and the team received communications from players and the children and grandchildren of players that actually played for Bryn Mawr in the early 1900s.
This educational program put EGRFH on the map and brought field hockey to life in our community. We would not have been able to do this without the support of USA Field Hockey and several volunteers from our field hockey Board. EGRFH thanks the generous community of supporters for stepping back in time with us! We shall never forget all we learned from this experience studying Coach Constance Applebee and her team!