Wellesley Blue Field Hockey Kicks off Summer with a Team Trip to the Netherlands and Greece

June 28, 2017
High fives and smiles for Wellesley Field Hockey players abroad
Credit:
Miles Roberts

Thanks to the support of Friends of Wellesley College Athletics, members of the Blue field hockey program started their summer break with a trip to the Netherlands and Greece for eight days of hockey and sightseeing. They visited the historic cities of Amsterdam, Delft, and Athens and the Greek islands of Mykonos and Delos.

The journey started in the Netherlands, where the team’s schedule was filled with clinics and games with players and coaches from local field hockey clubs.

“It was so interesting to hear about how different hockey is in the Netherlands versus the U.S.,” said Emmy Hamilton ’18. “The women were all in university, but since universities don't have leagues the way we do, everyone had chosen to continue playing at the club.”

The Blue represented Wellesley in a nation where the sport is a national pastime—the Dutch women’s national team is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Hockey Federation. Wellesley trained at Cartouche Hockey Club in Leidschendam, and even earned a 2-1 victory over Bleiswijk Hockey Club in their final game. More importantly, the Blue enjoyed time with their Dutch counterparts, exchanging gifts and engaging in spirited conversation.

“The last game was a literal win for us, but it was also a figurative one because we had a fantastic time playing with the team and then later socializing with them,” said Paige Hauke ’19. “They introduced us to traditional foods, helped us learn a few words in Dutch, danced with us, and really gave us a sense of what it was like to live in Holland.”

Between games in the Netherlands, the team also explored the city of Delft, whose famous blue pottery was understandably a hit, and took in the markets, shops, and streets of Amsterdam as well as a canal cruise.

The Blue then flew to Greece, landing in Athens and heading straight for a Special Olympics clinic, where they taught field hockey to a local soccer club before playing games of both field hockey and soccer.

“Although the language barrier did exist, those players contained a passion for athletics and friendship that transcended all,” said Cecie Negron ’19. “Our team had the opportunity to introduce field hockey to them, which they quickly picked up. It was so incredible to join them for the night and give back to a city that we had the privilege of being in. I am so thankful our team had the opportunity play with such an inspiring group of athletes.”

The next day the team headed to the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Panathenaic Stadium. Hockey was on the schedule again after the tour. The team scrimmaged a local club, adapting to the unfamiliar high-scoring, five-on-five game (field hockey is played 11-on-11 in the United States).

From the Greek capital, a five-hour ferry ride took the Blue to the island of Mykonos, and a shorter ride the next day sent them on a tour of neighboring Delos, the archeological site known in mythology as the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo. “Our tour guide was amazing, and she gave us such a great in-depth tour of the island,” said Caroline Taylor ’20.

Before heading home, the team welcomed a half-day respite to explore and relax in Mykonos. “We spent time exploring the island's beautiful, thin cobbled streets, and did a bit of shopping,” said Taylor.

“Every day was so special, and different, and it feels impossible to call one more valuable than another,” said Arielle Mitropoulos ’19. “I really appreciated the balance of field hockey and culture in each place we went to. The memories we made as a team, and relationships we formed with not only one another, but also our counterparts, were some of the most valuable aspects of our trip. I know each of us will always value every lesson and experience we had together over the eight days.”