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My Field Hockey Stick

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I slide my hands down to just the right spot. Grasping the soft black cushion which wraps around the top like a ribbon, I get into position. I hear the crack of the ball being blocked. With a gentle, yet strong flick of my wrist, I send the ball right back. When I hold my stick low towards the ground, it becomes like a blockade, and it will hold off any ball that tries to pass. The fiberglass composite of which it is composed makes it strong and reliable; I know I can count on my stick.

A field hockey stick is a key component in the game of field hockey. Every player plays with one, even the goalie. Sticks come in varying lengths. One chooses a particular stick length based on their waist height. My stick is three feet long. Beginning narrower in width at its top, the stick widens towards the bottom where it curves into a scooped head, like an upside down candy cane. The head is flat on one side and rounded on the other. Only the flat side can be used to hit a ball. Almost the whole top half of the stick is wrapped with a cushiony black tape so that it is easy for the player to grip. My stick is manufactured by a company called Grays; the signature “Grays” appears in bold white letters outlined in black on the bottom half. Like a series of different race cars, my stick also has printed in smaller bold type “GX4000”. The bottom half of my stick is smooth, and when I look down on it the deep blue color of the ocean is reflected. A streak of bright orange wraps around the blue, like the tail of a shooting star against a dark sky.
In every game and practice my stick feels the bang of the ball hitting smack into it, the scrape of another stick whacking against it, and the brush of the ground below. Tiny pieces of the scooped head chip away slowly, like the gradual decay of a fallen tree. Yet, graceful curved outlines remain; insuring fast hits, controlled stops, and quick flicks and scoops.
Starting and finishing the game, my stick helps me guide the ball. Sometimes I need it to act like an extension of my right or left arm; I simply release one of my hands which grasps the black cushion, and extend the deep blue end to jab the ball away from an opponent. Other times, using quick turns and pulls, it allows me to weave the ball in and out around players, like one weaves a reed through other reeds to make a basket. Often, I must bend down low with my stick parallel to the ground, to shelter the ball in its head. Pushing with ease, I let the stick finish the job. After the release of the ball, I follow through with the curved head pointing upwards, blending with the blues of the sky. When a ball flies towards me in the air, like a shield my stick comes up to protect my body. The ball drops to the ground. Cushioning the ball like an egg, I have control and lead it out, with my stick acting like a magnet to the ball. Giving the ball a strong push, I quickly send it speeding back down the dark green turf to a teammate.
Whether I use my stick as a guide, extension, blockade, or shield I know it is always there to lend help. I have grown very attached to my stick. It annoys me when somebody else uses it. Someday, when I have to buy another field hockey stick, I will retire my loyal Gray GX4000 to the corner of my room, like a champion race horse put out to pasture.





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