Farewell to My Hockey Home
by Teryn Brill Galloway, USA Field Hockey's Senior Communications Manager
Blood. Sweat. Tears. Memories.
It goes without saying that a collegiate field and stadium holds a special place in any field hockey athlete’s heart. Whether it is the 6 a.m. morning runs on Terrible Tuesday or thrilling overtime victory against your conference rival, this field is a place where many distinguish a sense of comfort, a feeling of home.
On April 22, 2017, I had the chance to play on my college field one last time, to say goodbye to an old friend. As more than 50 alumni gathered to honor what was once their most dreaded yet favorite field, a sense of accomplishment, pride and dignity surrounded us as we reminisced about the stadium that built us into a family.
It was at that stadium where we ran countless stairs for being the losing team in practice. It was in that locker room where we had the best pre-game dance parties. It was in that team room where we would learn scouting points about our opponents or where we would sneak in late at night to watch a movie on the 75-inch screen. It was in that coaches’ office where we would watch touches from the previous game to prepare us for the next.
It was in those stands where we would look for and see our families and friends who traveled many miles to watch us play. It was in those seats where countless fans supported and cheered, maybe not always knowing the rules. It was on that concourse where the pep band kept the energy in the stadium alive and always praised coach’s kindness.
It was on that field where we dedicated days, weeks and years to ourselves, teammates, coaches and fans to be the best team we could be. It was on that baseline where we stood when coach muttered the words “get on the line” which sent shivers up and down our spines. It was on that bench where we sharply cheered as our teammate went boldly for a 1v1 with the goalkeeper. It was in front of that scorer’s tables where our knees jittered as we awaited our turn to sub into the game.
And that is when time froze…
As I waited on the sideline to sub in at the alumni game, I couldn’t help but look out at our team’s field and stadium and gasp in awe of all the memories that were made there. This field instilled qualities in me along with the lifelong friendships I have established. There are no words to describe how much my hockey home had once done for me.
With every end comes a new beginning, and as I am envious of the brand-new facility being built for the current University of North Carolina Field Hockey team, I also appreciate the fact that I could call this stadium my hockey home for so many years.
Thank you, Francis E. Henry Stadium, for the memories, championships and friendships.
UNC Field Hockey's 2017 Alumni Weekend & Farewell to Francis E. Henry Stadium
Photos Courtesy of Tony Yount & Louise McNutt