When she left New Jersey, Trisha Winkle did not intend on leaving behind her lifelong love for field hockey — but few people in College Station know the sport.
Winkle hopes her upcoming training event will change that.
On Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. on the turf fields at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex, community members can rotate through stations to learn how to play field hockey. Participants will be introduced to the rules and how to use the equipment, and they will get a chance to practice their new skills. Winkle will have field hockey-relevant coloring pages so all ages can participate.
Winkle has played the sport since childhood and was a coach for 20 years. Winkle said she experienced a unique sense of camaraderie when she started playing field hockey that other sports couldn’t match.
“I would like to see people get out of it what I got out of it,” she said. “It’s a sport that I love. I learned a lot about myself and what I could handle and also made a lot of great friendships.”
Field hockey is complicated without hands-on learning, she added.
The goal is to use a stick with a hook on the end to dribble a ball down the field and into the opposing goal. The style used to move the ball and the size of the field are similar to soccer. Each team’s 11 players are only allowed to use the flat side of the stick, and they are prohibited from kicking the ball or allowing their stick to make contact with other people.
College Station Parks and Recreation Athletics Supervisor Bobbie Cantu has worked closely with Winkle to coordinate Friday’s event.
Cantu said her department is always looking to offer new sports to residents and recently started hosting Ultimate Frisbee and spike ball events. Currently, the Parks and Recreation department has about 12 sports leagues, and Cantu said that if there is enough public interest, the department wants to add field hockey to the list.
“This was a great opportunity for us too, because we are looking to expand into different sports,” Cantu said. “We want to have more of a variety so people have more options to compete in than the traditional sports, just to make things a little more exciting.”
Equipment for the event was donated by Winkle’s former teammates and athletes she coached — a testament to what Winkle says is a committed network of field hockey players who want to see the sport spread to more areas.
“Everyone is pretty passionate about trying to grow the game, so everyone involved in the sport is willing to help each other out,” Winkle said.
She said she is excited to teach Bryan-College Station community members about her favorite sport and hopes it becomes a regular way for people in the area to get active.
“I would like it to be a household name in the area,” Winkle said.