On March 21st 2018, 75 girls from seven different secondary schools in Hong Kong competed in the second annual Girls’ Ball Hockey tournament.
This year’s one day tournament followed on the heels of HK’s first full U20 Girls Ball Hockey season which ran weekly games from October to February alongside the existing U20 Boys division. These tournaments, and the leagues, are jointly organized and run by a group of volunteers. Below, three new ball hockey players from Victoria Shanghai Academy, Audrey, Angelina, & Kate, as well as our graduating team captain, Michelle, gave their thoughts, and collected those of others, on the topic of the Girls Ball Hockey experience in Hong Kong.
Audrey, 14 years old: This was my first hockey competition and I was on the White team. I was very thrilled to be able to get into the finals in my first hockey tournament yet I was a little anxious as well as I didn’t actually know what I was supposed to do and I think many people who first do something can be a little worried to do it correctly. If you ever experienced that, that was how I felt when my team got to the finals. Another girl from Delia School of Canada, Grei, 14, said she was worried about this tournament beforehand but afterward said hockey is her new favourite sport. When the final game was over everyone ran onto the rink to celebrate, and I was overwhelmed because this was my first tournament, and first win. Though I didn’t score any goals throughout the games, I gained experience playing on a team and supporting each other. Also, I think through playing I learned more about this sport.
Angelina, 13: When I went to the tryouts, let me tell you, it was not as I expected. I thought that we would play hockey and see that who has the best hockey skills, I was wrong. We just did conditioning and running, I thought to myself, what is this based on? When the results came out a few days later– I didn’t get picked. I know, I know, you are wondering, then how am I on the team now? Throughout the school year, we tried out some helmets and measured some sticks, until finally, we got an email that said we could join the practices and participate in a tournament. Just imagine, we were still brand newbies that didn’t even know how hockey worked! I asked some other more experienced players how they felt when they first joined the team and they said, “Hou ging (Cantonese for: very good),” –Sum, 17 (who has been playing for five years). “They’re very nice.” –Mandy, 14 (a second year player). “It’s very cool to have a stick to just swing around, in general, it is just cool to play hockey.” –Claudia, 17 (a first year player).
When us newbies went to our first hockey practice the other girls talked to us about our technique and helped us. This is where I first felt the team spirit going around. They help each other instead of being competitive towards each other. They’re all really good at hockey and to think that some of them are still in their first year! I felt quite embarrassed about my techniques since I couldn’t even really make a nice and powerful shot, heck I couldn’t even hold the stick right! I didn’t go to the tryouts because I wanted to, I originally went just because my friend asked me to do it with her, but now, I’ve come to really like hockey. It’s a really fun sport that allows us to interact with other people, even other teams. It is unlike other sports teams. After a few practices and a tournament, I felt that the team was maybe warming up to us rookies. We had to cooperate with each other and it was generally a fun experience. My last practice was the last practice of the season and I’m really looking forward to the first practice of next season in September.
Recently I asked a few girls that are graduating or leaving our school for their thoughts on the team when they joined and what they feel now that they’re leaving. “A lot of team spirit, they all work really hard to do their job and play their position and they teach other teammates and help each other.” said Lotus, 16, a Year 10 player that is leaving Hong Kong. She also said “I’m sad to leave the team because in this team, there are different people that have their own strengths and they cooperate well with each other and they respect each other.” “A lot of team spirit amongst the team, and the people always shout for each other in matches, unlike in other teams,” said Sabrina, 18, a Year 12 who will soon graduate. Sabrina also commented, “I will miss the team, I’m not ready to leave yet.”
Kate, 13: My first experience in competitive ball hockey was on Wednesday. It was overall very exciting and fun. I was on the White team. Our team got into the semi finals against the Red team and then the finals against Purple. I was really nervous for we all wanted to win and also because we were so close to winning. As I played defense, I tried to hit the other’s hockey sticks to annoy them, but sometimes, I failed doing that, sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing. My role is also to hit the ball away from our goal, so that our forward teammates can score a goal. At last, we played two-on-two in overtime. When my teammate Shivorn scored the OT goal, I was so shocked that we won.
Michelle, 19: The girls ball hockey tournament marks our last competition of the school year and as VSA captain I am immensely proud of the growth and improvements from my fellow teammates. Winning first place in this tournament was a bittersweet moment for seniors like Angela, 17 (my tournament teammate from another school) and I. It certainly is a great ending to our high school hockey career.
Compiled by: Adam Copus, Wayne Chow, & Jon Szychta