DURHAM, N.C. - Duke senior Rhian Jones will keep a weekly blog for the 2011 season, giving Duke fans an inside look at life on the Blue Devil field hockey team.
Look for Rhian's blog every week during the season on GoDuke.com.
Rhian Jones Blog #6 (October 27, 2011)
In my nearly four years at Duke, I have seen the coming and going of many ‘trends’ on the field hockey team. Last season, speaking with a Spanish accent become so popular at practice that I forgot what Chelsea Amsley and Abby Hassinger’s real voices sounded like. For two years, before every game we played zoo, a crazy clapping and hand signal game. This year medieval accents are second nature and we sing our own rendition of ‘White Christmas’ before every game, guided by the steady tune of beat master Brenna Resigno and lead singers Mary Nielsen and Stefanie Fee.
While accents, songs, dances, and jokes have come and gone, there is one tradition that has been permanent in my time at Duke -- the national anthem shoulder-rub. To me the resilience of the ‘moving shoulder-massage’ ritual is no surprise given the values of our program. For one thing, our team loves massages. Micaela Paterson’s worst mistake was revealing her talent for getting out knots and kinks; she now devotes significant portions of time responding to pleading teammates looking for a back rub (as a warning to future teammates, keep your ability to French braid, massage, or cook to yourself unless you are prepared to share the talent with 21 girls).
But passing along the love in the five minutes before the game also reflects this program’s emphasis on support. For members of Duke field hockey, there is always a teammate ready to lend a hand. On the field, the ways we support each other are obvious. When Samantha Nelson makes an amazing save, Paula Heimbach is there to clear the ball off her pads. When Caashia Karringten slips through three defenders and rockets a shot to the far post, forward Emmie Le Marchand is there to nail it into the cage. When an opponent breaks through the middle of the field with the ball, Grace Christus is there to pick her up and make the tackle.
But the type of support we offer each other goes beyond pretty passes or marking responsibilities; it extends off the field as well. As a team we have supported each other through difficult classes, stressful relationships, and concerns over future plans. So when Abby Beltrani’s little fingers settle into my back before our games, and I subsequently reach forward to pass the favor to Molly Johnson, I am reminded that in the world of Duke field hockey, you never stand alone. Together we push forward into our last weekend of the regular season against UVa. Go Duke!