Event Dates: Sunday July 29 – Saturday August 11
Medal Events: 2
Athletes: 384 ( 12 men’s / women’s teams )
Probably the most surprising thing about seeing Hockey on the Olympic schedule for the Summer Games isn’t that it’s happening at the Summer Games; it’s that there are both men’s and women’s competitions. Last I checked field hockey (which is what this is) was played by girls pretty exclusively.
Perhaps that’s my silly American-ness coming out (almost assuredly so) but the idea of men running around hunched over with tiny sticks whacking at a ball is hilarious. But I guess it’s sexist of me to think that men can’t play a sport women play…or is that reverse sexism?
Anyway, men’s Hockey competitions have been part of the games, apparently, since 1908 whereas women’s competitions didn’t come along till 1980 in Moscow. Clearly the Soviets felt the need to put in another sport they figured their ‘roided-up athletes could dominate.
For those of you not familiar at all with field hockey, it’s akin to lacrosse…and if you’re not familiar with lacrosse, it’s akin to ice hockey without skates and on grass. Confused? Good, you should be.
The basic premise is, pass the ball around, using your stick, to have the opportunity for a shot on goal, then score. Points are scored by shooting the ball past the opposing team’s goalie. Seems simple enough…except the goal is tiny and the goalie wears big honkin’ pads!
As the sport has progressed they have migrated from natural grass to synthetic versions to create a better, longer-lasting playing surface (someone should tell that to Wimbledon…have you seen those courts during the championship matches?). This year, for the first time in Olympic history, the Londoners are taking a cue from the Boise State Football team and will be playing on a blue surface rather than green.
This sport has potential and should be a fun watch!
To see where to watch this or your other favorite sports, check out NBC’s coverage in your local area.
I hope you have enjoyed this preview of the 2012 London Olympics Hockey event. Continue to check 8DaysAGeek for more previews of Olympic events.