By: Cullen McIntyre, Sports Editor
The University of Maine field hockey team had finished the first half of overtime against Temple University, a game that was being played at Kent State University in Ohio. Both teams were informed by Kent State officials that the game could no longer continue, as the field was needed for pre-game fireworks for the Kent State football game occuring that afternoon.
According to a report by the Portland Press Herald, “senior Riley Field thought it was a joke when a Kent State administrator told the University of Maine and Temple field hockey teams that their game couldn’t continue.” Her thought was rightfully so, as the game had every right to be finished, instead of having to end for a firework ceremony that was for a game played on a different field.
The game was supposed to end by 10:30 a.m. that day, as the teams had agreed that the 9 a.m. game would be over by then. Each team did not expect the game to go into overtime, and seemingly expected they would be able to finish the game should overtime occur. Overtime of course did occur, and the teams were only able to finish a single half before being told they couldn’t finish. The game was declared a “no contest”, according to UMaine field hockey Twitter page.
A half in overtime of a college field hockey game is 10 minutes long. 10 minutes that a pre-game firework ceremony could have waited to begin, so the athletes that travel across the country to represent their university and compete at a high level can finish their game. Should a goal be scored in that 10 minutes, the game ends. Had a goal not been scored, a best-of-five shootout occurs, and the team that scores the most out of five goals wins the game. As ties do not exist in field hockey, the game does not count towards either team’s record on the season.
The larger issue raised, is the inequality of women’s sports to men’s sports. Why should a Division I field hockey game not be allowed to finish not for a football game to be played on the same field, but for a pre-game firework ceremony for the football game that began at noon?
Female and male athletes both work morning, afternoon, and evening on their craft, whether it be football or field hockey all athletes put in a tremendous amount of effort into their sport. Each athlete competing at the collegiate level, no matter what division, has worked for their position on their team, and to be told that they cannot finish a game because of a pre-game firework ceremony shows a lack of respect for women’s sports.
Both teams were told they could resume play at 5:30 p.m., seven hours after, for a 10 minute overtime. The lack of respect shown exemplifies that there is still much work to do in equality for the women’s game. A game that would have delayed a daytime fireworks show by 20-30 minutes at the latest, was not allowed to finish because the officials decided that the sport of football meant more than field hockey.
The University of Maine field hockey team is ranked 24th nationally, and finished last season with a record of 16-5 record. The idea that a pre-game ceremony for a football team that is not ranked nationally is more important than a game for a field hockey team that is not only ranked nationally, but ranked nationally at the highest collegiate level, is pathetic.
Women’s sports have made a long climb to earn the respect it deserves in equality, but the actions taken at Kent State are an example that there is still left to climb. Any sporting event, no matter the gender, no matter the level of play, deserves to be shown respect for the athletes that have worked tirelessly to get to where they are, and that they deserve the right to play.