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Tales from Save Stanford Discipline Hockey

Discipline hockey’s loss to top-ranked UNC within the quarterfinals of the NCAA Event is meant to be the final sport for this system on the varsity degree — the final for a 118-year-old program that has been on The Farm practically so long as the time period “The Farm” itself has been in use.

Stanford’s choice to discontinue this system and the preliminary response to that call have been well-documented. Now, practically a yr after the announcement, previous and current members of the staff proceed to push for the reinstatement of their sport on and off the sector. 

This yr’s staff, for instance, crossed out “Stanford” on their uniforms with black tape all through the season and playoff run in protest of Stanford. 

The 2021 Stanford subject hockey staff. (Picture: KAREN HICKEY/

Off the sector, earlier generations of this system have shaped Save Stanford Discipline Hockey, a corporation made up of alums and supporters of the game. After the preliminary outrage over the choice, members of the group started channeling their anger into motion proper from the start.

Elise Ogle ’14 MA ’15 and Linda de los Reyes ’84, who knew one another from post-collegiate membership subject hockey, shortly obtained in touch and helped type the muse of the group with different alums of this system. They labored to disseminate info to the greater than 400 subject hockey alums, whereas persevering with to achieve out and broaden their pool of connections.

One such alum, Kathy Levinson ’77, was working with the college final yr to create an endowment to honor the reminiscence of a former teammate. She continued to achieve out to potential donors proper up till she discovered on July 8 the game can be discontinued, the identical day as everybody else. She — like so many others — was greatly surprised by the abruptness of the announcement. 

“I’ve been a longtime important donor to Stanford subject hockey and wasn’t given any superior discover, or any indication that this was within the works,” she mentioned. “Why would you enable me to proceed to achieve out to potential donors to create this endowment in case you [the university] had been going to chop the game?”

Quickly after, Levinson reached out to Nathalie Weiss ’16 and Alexander Massialas ’16, who’re former members of the lads’s rowing and males’s fencing groups, respectively. The trio created the “Stanford Athletic Response Workforce.” She, together with buddy and ladies’s basketball alum Jennifer Azzi ’90, additionally realized the significance in increasing to incorporate the opposite current 25 sports activities, which led to 36 Sports activities Sturdy, a group of alums and supporters of all 36 Stanford varsity sports activities.

“Kathy was one of many creators of the 36 Sports activities Sturdy group,” Ogle mentioned. “And has actually spearheaded a variety of their efforts to unite the entire groups.”

Ogle known as her and her work for each 36 Sports activities Sturdy and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey, “simply unimaginable.”

“I believe one of the crucial fantastic issues that has come out of this horrible choice is that … we’ve reconnected with all our alums in a method that we hadn’t been a few years,” Levinson mentioned. 

“It’s actually fantastic to see this multi-generational, multi-race, multi-sport group come collectively on behalf of an establishment that all of us love,” she continued. “We need to assist proper that improper and assist Stanford regain its ethical compass … as a result of we’ve such an affinity for our college. If we didn’t care in regards to the college, I don’t assume this ever would have occurred.”

When requested in regards to the ongoing response to the college choice, Stanford Athletics spokesperson Brian Risso wrote that Athletics has been “supportive” of the present staff’s choice to cross out Stanford on their uniforms. He additionally pointed again to the rationale specified by the preliminary announcement final summer time, which named “monetary sustainability and aggressive excellence” as driving forces.

Concerning the previous, 36 Sports activities Sturdy has offered the College’s Board of Trustees with a proposal to self-fund not simply the 11 discontinued sports activities, but in addition all non-revenue producing ones.

Of the latter, “the tradition of Stanford is absolutely way more broad primarily based, attracting elite athletes from all walks of life,” Levinson mentioned. “It’s evidenced by the variety of Olympians that we’ve created. Simply go into the, you recognize, the Corridor of Champions.”

This yr alone, wrestling’s Shane Griffith and synchronized swimming every received nationwide championships. Discipline hockey received the America East convention for a fourth time prior to now 5 years.

On Wednesday, members from eight of the 11 sports activities — together with a person on the sector hockey staff — filed lawsuits on Wednesday difficult the College’s choice to chop the packages.

Ogle acknowledged that reinstatement wouldn’t essentially remedy broader points inside subject hockey, however mentioned that slicing the game can be much more detrimental.

“There’s undoubtedly areas of enchancment for range and accessibility for subject hockey as a sport,” she mentioned. “However there’s a lot extra to that. And a variety of it takes time; it goes method past cash. It takes devoted individuals who perceive the significance and need to construct it. And people persons are coming from Stanford.”

“It’s why I work three teaching jobs outdoors of my full-time job,” Ogle mentioned. “It’s as a result of I find it irresistible and I really feel like I’m actually pushed to provide that chance to others in order that there will be extra individuals like me.”

With out Stanford subject hockey main the way in which, de los Reyes doesn’t know what is going to occur to the game all through the West Coast. On a extra private degree, it was her daughter’s dream to play for the Cardinal.

The impression may also ripple past the confines of the sector.

“It’s one other sport for ladies that you simply, simply take it away and it’s simply unhappy,” she mentioned. “It’s a giant gap in creating ladies, and we’ve talked about many instances how enjoying sports activities helps develop leaders and teammates and camaraderie.”

If Stanford had been to reinstate the game, Ogle, Levinson, de los Reyes and others are those who will proceed to assist broaden and develop the game that, in some ways, outlined their experiences at Stanford and past.

Till then, alums and supporters have shaped “slightly military to combat the choice,” as Ogle put it.

“It’s been a curler coaster,” Ogle continued. “On prime of a variety of different issues taking place this yr, you form of query ‘Am I making the best choice in combating for this?’ and it takes a variety of reflection for me, reflecting alone story, or reflecting on tales of my teammates, provides me that degree of understanding.”

Elise Ogle headshot
Elise Ogle (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

Set off Warning: This part of the story accommodates mentions of suicide which may be troubling to some readers.

When Elise Ogle ’14 M.A. ’15 was youthful, her father — a highschool trainer and soccer and wrestling coach — would take her and her brother to summer time practices for the groups. There she was first launched to the game of subject hockey. Although she had no prior expertise, the college’s coaches started inviting her to apply, and shortly she was a member of their membership staff. 

Ogle, who’s biracial and was adopted at a younger age, at instances struggled to seek out her id inside subject hockey, however her coaches cared deeply about accessibility and took time to make sure that she felt part of the staff on and off the sector. 

“I by no means noticed myself actually mirrored within the gamers of my sport, and subject hockey is predominantly white,” she mentioned. “There’s a variety of points with subject hockey and entry to it, however I used to be given a possibility by means of my highschool coaches, who actually went out of their technique to welcome individuals into the game… And that chance has modified my life.”

Her highschool coaches took additional time to work along with her and supplied tools and encouragement. Throughout this time, Ogle set her sights on Stanford and started assembly with college’s coaches and attending summer time tournaments and camps. Academically, she ensured her course load was rigorous and met the lofty requirements for acceptance to the college, with assist from her father and coaches. 

Then, as Ogle put it, “the remainder is historical past.” 

She was accepted into Stanford and was a Cardinal from 2010 – 2015. Over the course of the 4 years — she redshirted the 2011 season — Ogle performed in 64 video games, scoring 5 objectives and gathering 17 assists. She additionally started working within the Digital Human Interplay Lab throughout the Division of Communication and took courses in quite a lot of topics.

Elise running and looking across the field during a game
Elise working and looking out throughout the sector throughout a sport (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

“However after I look again on my private journey, I really feel form of unhappy about it,” Ogle mentioned. “I felt prefer it was actually arduous as a scholar to actually join with individuals on a deeper degree. And I felt like the established order was simply to fake the whole lot was okay.”

Throughout Ogle’s sophomore yr, her shut buddy and roommate died by suicide. She mentioned she felt “damaged” following the passing, however subject hockey was there for her.

“Piece by piece, the assist from my Stanford hockey household put me again collectively,” she wrote in an announcement. “Over time, I began discovering pleasure once more. They sparked a lightweight inside me that had been lacking for a very long time.”

Reflecting again, it was these moments and gestures from her teammates and coaches that helped her discover herself when she was at her lowest.

“I wanted to keep in mind that myself, my well being, my happiness was extra vital than something, was extra vital than grief, efficiency, all these items that, main as much as attending to Stanford, are a very powerful issues that you would be able to have, that may get you in,” she mentioned. “I wanted to form of let go of these issues and actually get again to specializing in what actually mattered.”

“They instructed me that the one factor that mattered was my well being and my happiness,” she mentioned of her teammates and coaches. “And that was one thing that nobody had ever instructed me earlier than.”

Ogle is at present working to broaden the accessibility to and the remedy of younger grownup and adolescent psychological well being by means of digital therapeutics with a small startup firm, Limbix. She coaches youth subject hockey on the facet. 

“I’m writing content material to assist inspire teenagers, to be, to really feel like their finest and healthiest selves,” she mentioned. “And I realized the significance of that, by means of my expertise at Stanford, by means of particularly being part of a staff.”

“I wouldn’t be the place I’m right this moment with out this program,” she mentioned.

Kathy Levinson headshot
Kathy Levinson (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

Kathy Levinson ’77, Stanford’s solely three-sport varsity athlete, has probably donned a Cardinal uniform extra typically than some other athlete at school historical past. She was on the sector hockey, basketball and tennis groups throughout her 4 years at Stanford, and would have performed extra sports activities if she may have. 

“Now it’d be more durable I believe to play three sports activities due to their off seasons and coaching, however I simply actually appeared ahead to going from one season to the following,” she mentioned. “I might have performed extra sports activities in the event that they had been unfold out extra. I may have performed extra, however three is essentially the most you would have achieved. In order that’s what I did.”

Regardless of her love for basketball and tennis, the game of subject hockey was a novel expertise for her.

“I actually favored the camaraderie on the sector hockey subject,” Levinson mentioned. “There’s a method wherein you’re far other than individuals on the sector and but, you’ll be able to’t actually be a solo contributor.”

She didn’t start enjoying the game till she was 14, nevertheless, when she moved to the East Coast from the Midwest. From there, Levinson labored her method into Stanford, the place she described her athletic expertise as her “saving grace,” regardless of enjoying within the early days of Title IX and with none scholarship alternative.

On the time, Levinson mentioned, subject hockey was very a lot outlined by the staff round her, because the college didn’t prioritize the game.

“We had a coach that had by no means performed subject hockey, didn’t actually like subject hockey and definitely had by no means coached subject hockey,” Levinson mentioned. “So we needed to come collectively to profit ourselves as a result of clearly the college wasn’t actually paying a lot consideration to it or wasn’t that curious about it.”

“We actually needed to push arduous for the whole lot. For uniforms, for balls, the sector that we performed on was outdoors of Roble [Hall] had tall grass and was not well-kept. And so we discovered ourselves combating tooth and nail for the whole lot,” she continued.

Likening her experiences to what this yr’s subject hockey staff endured, Levinson’s staff excelled, making it to the nationwide match every of her last two years at Stanford — the primary two years there was a nationwide match for ladies.

A field hockey team picture from the 1974-75 yearbook
A subject hockey staff image from the 1974-75 yearbook (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

“We needed to work collectively for the whole lot that we obtained as a result of nothing was given to us,” Levinson mentioned. “We actually needed to stand collectively, converse collectively, protest collectively, demand collectively to get what we thought of equal remedy. And so I believe there was one thing about being within the foxhole collectively, which introduced us even nearer collectively, not solely as teammates however as human beings.”

Linda de los Reyes headshot
Linda de los Reyes (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

Over time, subject hockey has grow to be part of the id of Linda de los Reyes ’84. 

It didn’t start that method. Initially drawn to softball in highschool as a result of her pals had been on the staff, she shortly realized that the game wasn’t for her. It was strolling again from the softball tryouts, nevertheless, the place she first noticed subject hockey being performed.

“It appeared attention-grabbing — youngsters had been working round with sticks,” she mentioned. “In order that was my first introduction. And from the second I picked up the stick, it was simply, I didn’t need to put it down.”

The game helped her discover a place at Stanford as soon as she arrived, as there have been 10 different freshmen in her recruiting class. It was these individuals and teammates who make up lots of the individuals she’s nonetheless pals with right this moment.

De los Reyes portrait photo from her time on the field hockey team in 1982
Picture courtesy of Linda de los Reyes and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey

“Whenever you get up, you go to high school, and then you definately go to subject hockey apply,” de los Reyes mentioned. “So yeah, it was arduous to actually separate that out of your id. And it was nice.”

The expertise not solely left an impression on her, however, extra lately, additionally her daughters. She coaches in Northern California on the center college, highschool and membership ranges and launched her two daughters to the game from a younger age.

De los Reyes coaching one of her field hockey teams
De los Reyes teaching one in all her subject hockey groups (Picture courtesy of Elise Ogle and Save Stanford Discipline Hockey)

She described Stanford as a beacon for subject hockey in Northern California.

A number of the greatest tournaments within the space on the membership degree yearly are those hosted by the college, attracting quite a few youth membership groups within the surrounding space.

“It’s form of one of many massive ones that everyone form of works towards and practices and trains for they usually put their finest groups on the market,” de los Reyes mentioned. “It’s simply this degree of competitors and camaraderie the identical time whenever you convey all of the golf equipment collectively like that. Stanford has supplied that.”

Discipline hockey head coach Tara Danielson and assistant coaches Patrick Cota and Steve Danielson additionally host summer time day camps, which each of de los Reyes’ daughters attended.

“The Stanford coaches are fabulous,” she mentioned. “They’ve a lot to share. And so they do it in such a method that makes it enjoyable and motivating for the youngsters.”

And past the play on the sector itself, de los Reyes instructs her gamers to go watch Stanford subject hockey in motion since their residence video games are so shut.

“[The games] are so thrilling and exhilarating and motivating,” she mentioned. “My very own daughters come again from a kind of video games going, ‘I need to exit and play.’ So we come residence, they seize their sticks, they usually simply begin hitting across the ball once more. That’s so enjoyable to see, it’s like an injection of affection of the game once more.”

Contact Jeremy Rubin at [email protected]

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