Hockey is the oldest known sport that requires a stick and a ball, dating to 2000 BC in Persia.

Field Hockey and the Olympics

Hockey is the oldest known sport that requires a stick and a ball, dating to 2000 BC in Persia. The name comes from the French word “hocquet,” referring to the stick used to hit the ball. Men’s field hockey appeared at the 1908 London Games, and was permanently added as an Olympic sport in 1920. Women’s field hockey was introduced at the 1980 Moscow Games. The modern, fast-paced version of the field hockey game began in the 1970s with the introduction of plastic turf. Until then the game was played on grass, making the sport slower.

At the 2012 London Games, men will compete in a twelve-team tournament and women will compete in a ten-team tournament. There are two gold medals up for grabs, with the events being held on August 10th and 11th.

MSU's field hockey summer camp

Field Hockey at Michigan State

The NCAA recognizes women’s field hockey as a collegiate sport. MSU’s women’s field hockey team competes at Ralph Young Field (next to Spartan Stadium) and their locker rooms are located in the stadium. The team finished their 2011-2012 season with an overall record of 7-13-0, and a conference record of 1-5-0. They play in an exhibition game at the University of Michigan on August 18, and then travel to Maine to open their season against Boston College on August 24. You can support the field hockey team on the MSU Giving website.

We were lucky enough to be invited in to the field hockey locker room and training facilities at Spartan Stadium earlier this summer when they were preparing for a summer camp. Here are some Beneath the Pines photos of our tour. Enjoy!

MSU Field hockey players practice in the early morning mist

MSU players work with summer camp participants
Ralph Young Field being readied to host the MSU field hockey summer camp
MSU women's field hockey locker room
An MSU field hockey midfielder relaxing in the locker room
An MSU field hockey midfielder relaxing in the locker room

Photo Credits: First three photos courtesy of MSU Communications and Brand Standards. Vintage photo courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Collections. All other photographs taken by Katie Kelly, Communications Manager, University Scholarships & Fellowships.

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