Field Hockey Team Deepening Roots

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By Kevin Eickman

Over the last several years, coach Andrea McPike has had the Milford High School field hockey team on a steady rise. One of Milford’s greatest challenges has been that of finding athletes within the district who possess the field hockey skills to compete at the varsity level. Milford has been working on developing players at the middle school level and in the off-season for a while. Even if you have willing athletes, you also need coaches. This past off-season, the Buccaneer family received some much-needed help from two soon-to-be Buccaneer graduates.

Seniors Sara Wallace and Hailey Sidibe both stepped up and offered their services and leadership at various developmental programs to help out the field hockey program. It was an act of selflessness on their parts, which McPike believes demonstrates what kind of individual these two young ladies are. “Sara and Hailey are as solid and dedicated as they come. They understood that help was needed and simply stepped up and offered their services,” McPike said. “On and off the field, they have continually demonstrated leadership, so for them to step up like they did was no surprise to me. They care about more than themselves, they are always looking at the big picture and wondering how they can make the world a better place.”

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Wallace’s main contribution over the winter came in helping coach three Milford middle school indoor teams. Since winter is the off-season, indoor field hockey is not school sponsored and is not a requirement for players who want to play at the varsity level. For those that choose to participate, the indoor season greatly enhances players skills. With just one practice and one game a week, the learning is crucial to gaining and maintaining skills. Milford had three teams composed of grades six through eight. Speaking with Wallace, she made it clear it was a labor of love. “It was such a great time. Honestly, I come from a family that believes in giving back to the community so this was a natural thing for me to do,” she said. “What was really amazing is how much I learned about myself and how much I grew as an individual. It was honestly something I wasn’t expecting.”

Sidibe took her coaching skills in a slightly different direction, starting and running a travel team called the “Milford Maniacs.” The team practiced once a week and had one game a week. However, for Sidibe it was much more than that. “We had so much fun and really learned to play the game at a higher level.” she said. “The best part about it was the friendships we have developed and maintained as a group. For me, this is something I had always wanted to do and to be able to accomplish it, is something I am very proud of.”

Sidibe was motivated by having to move a great deal during her time at school, being able to have a club that was open to all was very important to all. “It’s not easy being the new girl all the time,” she said. “With a team like this, you can make friends and you share a sisterhood and hopefully make friendships that can last a lifetime. By the end of the season we were like a small family, it was fantastic.”

Wallace and Sidibe have more in common than their love of coaching and field hockey. Their community caring will extend well beyond coaching sports. Both will be entering the Beebe Nursing School following graduation, with the goal of becoming Registered Nurses “That’s just who they are, they are leaders and difference makers. They care more for other people than they care for themselves, it’s fantastic.” McPike concluded “They have been great student athletes, but more importantly they are fantastic human beings. I have no doubt they are going to be successful in the future. I also know that they will be coming back to help continue to grow the Milford Field Hockey Community.”