Monday, June 17, 2024
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Let the players decide

There’s probably a fair bit of disappointment in Wairarapa hockey circles at the moment, and it would be understandable.
Many Wairarapa College girls play hockey for local clubs as well as their school, as is the same for many other schools and other sporting codes.
It’s a good way for the clubs to get a boost from good, keen players, while the students themselves benefit from increased competition playing against experienced, savvy adults.
But after training and playing for their club teams all season, the WaiCol girls that earn the right to play in Saturday week’s final will not get the chance to compete.
Unsurprisingly, some of the coaches, parents and players are disappointed.
The school says the timing of the club final game was “unfortunate” and conflicted with the date of the girls playing a strong hockey school in a pre-tournament preparation game the next day.
The Wairarapa College 1st XI team are past winners of the Federation Cup, which is competed for at the competition.
“As past winners there are playing standards to uphold,” acting principal Peter Gould said.
“This tournament is the focal point of their season.
“The girls need to be at their peak for this… The extra game just before tournament week would sap their energy and limit the usefulness of the arranged game played just a day later against the other school.”
It’s not the first time such a club versus school issue has arisen.
Year in, year out, it crops up, and can get quite messy.
Wairarapa Hockey said it had sorted the situation before the season, bringing the games forward to avoid a potential clash.
But whatever was or wasn’t done, how about letting the players themselves decide?
No doubt they are young and fit, and would be best placed to make the choice on whether they could properly compete in both matches.
I understand that the college should come first, but given the girls have dedicated many Saturdays to giving their best for their clubs, they may well feel they owe it to their club teammates to compete.
So let them make the call.
Club finals are special occasions, it should be up the players — not teachers or officials — to determine whether they have the chance to be regional champions or not.

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