Now that we have FINALLY kicked off football season we need to step back and get some perspective on U of L fall sports as a whole, which most certainly includes my favorite female sport, Field Hockey. Don’t let the skirts fool you, these girls are out to bring the pain! Field hockey is a faced pace game full of contact and aggressiveness, just ask the one they call “Big Mich” aka Michelle Amon.
Michelle, a senior and leadership group member, is a local product recruited from Assumption High school where she played under coach Debbie Judd. Michelle has been playing field hockey since 4th grade at Ascension and while she has played almost every sport she said Field Hockey just felt natural. ”I loved just hitting the crap out of the ball, pulling around people, and feeling strong. I loved the skill of the game how technical it is”. Michelle said she was in her element. She also said that she loves the sport because you have to be a good all around athlete. ”You have to be skilled, strong, and fast”.
You can see, without it being said, that Michelle is extremely proud to be a student-athlete at the University of Louisville. In the Louisville Field Hockey Media guide, Michelle said the proudest moment of her life “was when she verbally committed to play for UofL after growing up a die-hard Cardinal fan.” Louisville’s Head Field Hockey Coach Justine Sowry said of Michelle “She bleeds Cardinal through and through. Each day her passion, her energy, and her commitment continue to positively influence and impact the team and coaching staff.” I think Big Mich is a great example of what is means to be a Cardinal!
Michelle and I talked about what the life of a student-athlete was like at the University of Louisville and what she has learned from her experience.
J: When do you have to report back to campus after summer break?
Big Mich: “August 13th is officially when our year began but approx 21 players were here putting in work at the end of July. Off-season is when it matters, its the most important season. Being prepared for when the time comes. .. This is the culture now.”
J: Whats your schedule like?
Big Mich: “Now that classes have started. Up at 5:45am, got to the facility for treatment (ankle injury). Report to the locker room at 6:25 for practice. Practice from 7am -10am then off to class. Before that during camp, treatment at 6:30, practice from 8am – 11am, ice bath (everyone), lunch, practice again till dinner time, ice bath, dinner, sleep.
J: Do you ever feel like you’re missing anything with the demand of being a student-athlete?
Big Mich: “Sometimes you want to be regular but when you’re doing something you love, you don’t take things for granted, that all that matters. You forget about what everyone else is doing. I know how many people who would kill to have the opportunity I do. I’m doing what I love, for the school I love, in the city I love.
J: Mouth wide open in amazement….composes himself… How well does everyone get along on an all girl team?
Big Mich: “You have to do all the little things, the extra effort. Be accountable for your individual work and then doing the extra work together as a team. Hold each other accountable. Call out (privately) your teammate if they’re not putting in the work. If you see your teammate not doing right, you say something. Its a family environment. You are working hard for your teammates. Team first! We have accountability partners and big sisters which change that help us see where were at. ”
“Girls are ultra competitive but you have to know your role. Know and accept your role and realize it makes an impact regardless, it helps everyone. We care about each other. You hit it and quit it when we confront – privately and its done. You should never bad mouth a teammate. You are not going to be BFFs with everyone but you should respect one another because your sharing goals. You’ll never get there without each other. “
J: What are your goals for this year?
Big Mich: “We are preparing for transition into the ACC. We want to be playing at a higher caliber and knock out the higher ranked teams. Field Hockey is still part of the Big East. We want to leave the Big East with a Championship. We want to make the NCAA tournament of 16. There are 74 D1 schools with programs but they only take 16. We want to make a deep run into the tournament. ”
J: What other players besides yourself should fans be watching.?
Big Mich: “We’re not about that. Come watch us all, we’re all awesome!!! We all work hard. It will be fun to watch. It’s a sport most people haven’t experienced. It’s a very fast and technical game. On paper its non-contact but come out and see for yourself and you decide. Field hockey worldwide is a male dominated sport and its popularity rivals soccer in most countries. Families play field hockey at reunions.
J: Whats the tattoo on your neck?
Big Mich: “Its my mantra: Guisto Danze – Just Dance. No reference to Lady GaGa. Its just me. I love to dance. I dance everywhere including the locker room. Just dance.”
J: Anything you want to share with fans about coming out to games?
Big Mich: “It doesn’t matter what you do, you are part of a community, and we all support each other. It means so much. GAMES ARE FREE! We are #5 in attendance and we want to make it to #1. Our first home game is Sept 6th at 1pm and then our next game is on the 8th at 1pm also. We’re all part of the same community. GO CARDS! We got sticks and balls, come on out!”
Louisville Field Hockey Schedule: http://www.gocards.com/sports/w-fieldh/sched/lou-w-fieldh-sched.html
Big Mich is also interning at Northwestern Mutual and is considering changing her degree to finance. Michelle also coaches youth field hockey with IFHCK where she played club ball.
Please get out there and support the University of Louisville Field Hockey team and other fall sports!!! The Field Hockey team is also looking for groups to volunteer as ball runners. Contact Patty Norton at 502-852-0100 or [email protected]