Day in the Life of a field hockey player


Courtesy of SJS Field Hockey

The field hockey team celebrates after beating Ballard High 5-1.

Kaitlyn Chang, Staff Writer

The field hockey team played in the MAX Field Hockey High School National Invitational at the Proving Grounds in Pennsylvania on Sept. 24 and 25. They played three games against the top high school teams in the country, winning two and losing one. Sophomore Kaitlyn Chang recalls her trip to Pennsylvania and playing in the tournament. 


5:30 a.m.: I wake up to pitch blackness ten minutes before I have to leave for the airport. The sun has not yet risen, and it is way too early to be awake. 

5:40 a.m.: My sister and I jump into our teammate Libby Smith’s car for the forty-five minute ride to George Bush International Airport. I drift in and out of sleep until blinding headlights jolt me to consciousness. Why are there so many people driving right now?

6:25 a.m.: We arrive at the airport and immediately spot the sea of red and black stripes forming in the middle of the entrance. The team is wearing their matching rugbies and St. John’s black field hockey backpacks.

6:55 a.m.: “Look at all these athletes,” the security officer says as I walk up to show my ID and boarding pass. I laugh as she looks at the line and takes in the swarm of teenagers.

7:20 a.m.: We head toward our gate and spot two things we desperately need— Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. Unfortunately, the lines that snake outside of the stores make me reconsider how much I want caffeine. I decide against getting food as my teammates race to get a spot in the lines before they become any longer, if that is even possible. 

8:00 a.m.: We get many questioning stares as we board the tiny plane with four to a row and minimal foot room. After convincing myself that I do not want to leave my homework for Sunday, I hunker down and work. 

12:00 p.m.: We finally land in Pennsylvania and board the white Rohan bus, eager to get some food in our system at Whole Foods.

2:45 p.m.: After inhaling the much-needed fuel for the 5:30 p.m. game, we arrive at the hotel. We assemble in the lobby as captains Sloan Davidson and Megan Wetzel announce our room assignments. We pair up with our water buddies, who are meant to keep each other accountable to staying hydrated. I head up to my room with Anna Kate Black, my water buddy and roommate for the night. We change and prepare for the game. 

3:50 p.m.: Coach Mercado tells us to be on the bus by 4:15 p.m., and almost all of us are. When we realize that our teammates Lilly Price and Alexandra Madrid are not on the bus, we call them to hurry them up. They are forced to go down the bus aisle in shame as we slowly clap their late arrival to the bus.

6:00 p.m.: The buzzer sounds as our game against Sacred Heart Greenwich ends in a 2-2 tie. Limping with exhaustion, we gather around the bench to decide our seven-player lineup for the fifteen-minute overtime. We end up choosing Kristina Johnson, Hailey King, Libby Smith, Madison Kim, Megan Chang, Sloan Davidson and Megan Wetzel.

6:10 p.m.: All of us scream to cheer on the players. Well, almost everyone. Freshman Eliza Perrin croaks out the cheer, unable to make loud noises after yelling her heart out for the hour before. Suddenly, we hear a loud noise as Sloan Davidson scores the game-winning goal against the sixteenth-ranked high school team in the nation. We storm the field, heading straight for the rest of our team.

8:00 p.m.: As we carb-load at dinner with lots of pasta, bread and dessert in the hotel conference room, Coach Elliott announces a Tik Tok competition. Anna Kate Black, Lilly Price, Bella Blue and Sloane Merideth do not disappoint. 

Players prepare to travel across state lines to a tournament in Pennsylvania. (Courtesy of SJS Field Hockey)


11:00 a.m.: After an exhilarating 5-1 win against Ballard High School, we head to the game between Kinkaid and The Hill School, excited to show some Texan spirit. Unfortunately, Kinkaid loses 8-3.

12:45 p.m.: With sweat dripping down our sunburnt faces, we warm up for our final game in the tournament against Norfolk Academy. Contrary to what we originally thought about Pennsylvania weather, today is not at all different from a summer day in Texas.

3:00 p.m.: The game starts off strong, and we lead 2-0. The exhaustion and heaviness in our legs eventually catch up to us, and we end the tournament with a 4-2 loss to Norfolk Academy. 

3:30 p.m.: We pile onto the Rohan bus headed to the airport and immediately collapse into the seats to sleep. I wake up thirty minutes later and open my phone to our team’s group chat. The team spams me with unattractive videos of people, including me, napping.

5:10 p.m.: As soon as we arrive at the airport and pass through security, we head for the overpriced restaurants. We file through the gate, bogged down by blue and yellow Auntie Anne’s bags, iced coffee cups and Currito Burrito bowls. 

11:00 p.m.: When we finally land in Houston, we are all so tired from the long weekend that we could have fallen asleep at the terminal in five seconds. Although the result of our last game was not what we had hoped for, we feel proud of everything our team was able to accomplish. The tournament was an essential part of helping us bond as a team, improve our connection on the field and, most importantly, see our fellow teammates’ Tik Tok skills.