Yesterday, I was in a second-hand clothing shop when I came across a white polyester sports jersey. It was a bit smaller than most in its size category, the cut of the shirt was very similar to what a soccer or lacrosse player might wear: a short sleeve. The shirt was very narrow in the shoulders and a little wider in the tail, which suggested to me that it was designed for a female athlete.

On the front was a blue Nike maker’s mark and four block letters on the front: DUKE. And under that wordmark was the number 14 which Maddie Jenner wore with distinction as one of the finest draw-takers and all-around attacking midfielders I have ever seen. Was this a lacrosse jersey? Might it have been for soccer? Some other Duke sports team?

This encounter got me thinking. There are two lists of field hockey and lacrosse players which have been forming in the last few weeks out there in the field hockey and lacrosse worlds, both of whom will feed into competition this summer. One is the group of 52 athletes who will take part in Athletes Unlimited over a period of five weeks in the late summer in Sparks-Glencoe, Md. The other is a group of nearly 150 field hockey players who will be taking part in the Senior Nexus Championship around the ides of July in Virginia Beach, Va.

But when I look at the lists of players, what stands out to me are the players not on these lists.

Where, for instance, are the likes of Jenner, Caitlyn Wurzburger, Hannah Luebecker, or Jenn Medjid in Athletes Unlimited? They are players of considerable quality and marketability on the national and world stages.

You might also make the same argument about the likes of Erin Matson, Mackenzie Allessie, Ryleigh Heck, and Olivia Bent-Cole, none of whom are playing in the two-day Nexus championship this summer.

The list of omissions is particularly interesting since you have in these two groups some of the highest-scoring athletes of all time — Heck, Allessie, and Wurzburger are at the top of the all-time lists in their respective sports.

Certainly, there are reasons for these players to not be on the pitch. Some are coaching; others making the transition to the working world. For others, it might be load management for the next college season.

I get it.

But these games are not going to be quite the same.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here