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Twelve Harvard men have finally found the solution to the problem of combining women and serious athletics--The Mill Street Field Hockey Association. In this unique organization, which ahs just completed its second season with a 4-4 record, the players travel to various nearby (or not so nearby) girls' college and meet their field hockey teams in regulation games. Then they finish up the afternoon with pleasant social contacts among their opponents.
This year's team has played eight colleges--double the number in their first season--and has won or lost all but one game by a single goal. On October 6, the Mill Streeters lost their opener to Bradford, 3-2, and dropped their second game to Radcliffe, 2 to 1, two weeks later. They broke into the win column with their best game of the season against traditional rival Wheaton, 1-0, in their third game, but lost again, 2 to 1, to Mt. Holyoke, a week later.
The last four games were played in eight days, beginning with a 1-0 victory over Briarcliff on the way home from Princeton. After a loss to Pine Manor by the same score, the Mill Streeters edged Endicott, 2 to 1, in overtime. They wound up the season with an easy 4 to 0 victory ever Wheelock on November 19. As they had won two and lost two in '49, the Mill Street total record remained at the .500 mark.
From the scores it is obvious that the men were a match for this female counterparts, and went at the game in all seriousness. All the games were played under women's United States Field Hockey Association rules and with professional referees. Although occasionally the boys forget themselves, the Mill Street Association has an excellent reputation among the colleges it has played. In two years of play, there have been no injuries to either team.
But how did such an organization get its start?
It all began a year ago last spring when four sophomores developed the idea in a bull session. Fred Coburn, Doug Anderson, Dick Rosane, and Phil Scullin were all faced with the same two problems--they felt the need of some new female acquaintances, and they had to keep in shape for other sports during the off-season. House athletics had been suggested, but was scrapped because it did not fulfill the first requirement.
Field Hockey was finally chosen as the best way of meeting girls, and still providing the necessary conditioning. So the Mill Street Field Hockey Association was formed. Because all but one of the original number came from either Winthrop or Lowell, "Mill Street" (the alley that separates the two) seemed an appropriate title.
The next problem was scaring up opponents.
Many letters were written to girls' colleges that spring and the next fall, with no result. The four were about to give up the whole idea when Bradford and Wheaton accepted invitations to play. The Mill Street enterprise was launched.
Immediately the twelve charter members were rounded up. Besides Coburn, Anderson, and Rosane, Frank Parson, Archy Spencer, Tom Sherwood, Red Ekinner, Sid Clark, Phil Clark, Rollie Algrant, Nick Arundel, and Dalt Griffith made up the Association. When Algrant graduated Phil Scullin took his place in the group, since formed as a club of twelve.
Their first season the Mill Streeters tied and defeated Bradford, beat Radcliffe, and lost to Wheaton and Mount Holyoke. All games were played away as the men have no home field.
More colleges were needed for a full season, however, so the search continued. The athletic directors of the girls' colleges were very dubious about letting their charges play with boys, but Mill Streeters alleviated their fears by promising to play according to the girls' rules, and demanding recognized officials to keep it from getting rough.
Another query was on the meaning of the name. The Mill Street founders answered that it was so called to completely disassociate the group from Harvard, and give it independent status. Even in its present constitution there is no provision that a member need be a Harvard student.
By persuasion and the good example of their first season, the Mill Streeters were able to add four more opponents to their first year's list for this fall. But Smith, whose program is completely intramural, and Wellesley, Vassar, and Connecticut, whose rules forbid any games with boys in contact sports, refuse to play the Mill Street hockey players. Negotiations with Pembroke, Jackson, and Rhode Island State are still being carried on.
In December 1949 the team was formed into a club with a constitution. Twelve permanent members, and a fluctuating group of temporary members make up the association. By article two of the Constitution "the purpose of the association shall be social and athletic, to encourage a field hockey team in the fall and such other activities as the members desire."
Traditions have even sprung up for the Mill Streeters--they have their own uniform, white shirt and khaki pants, and their own locomotive cheer, "M-I-L-L-S-T-R-E-E-T F-I-E-L-D H-O-C-K-Y A-S-S-O-C-I-A-T-I-O-N."
Field hockey is most like soccer, with the same positions, the same number of men, 11, and the same tactics, except it's played with a stick. But only one side of the stick can be used to hit the ball, and the stick cannot be raised over the shoulder. As there are only right-handed sticks, not everybody can play. The most difficult problem for the boys is the "obstruction" rule
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