Elaine Kellogg does not like congestion. Given the choice, she would pass up the city any day for the simpler lifestyle of her family's farm in Vermont.
Yet Kellogg, a junior, has chosen to play field hockey. That's right, field hockey.
As a standout performer, she has learned to love a fast-moving game that often includes big traffic jams around a very little ball. Why does she put up with the crowds if she hates them? Because Elaine Kellogg thrives on competition.
"Field hockey is an active running game which provides the unique challenge, or maybe I should say limitation, of trying to maneuver a very small ball with only one side of a stick," Kellogg says.
Kellogg has adapted well to the limitations of the game. Since taking up the sport as a high school freshman six years ago, she has played four different positions, first as right halfback for the Stowe (Vt.) High School varsity in her first season. In the following three seasons, she saw action as both a right and left halfback before becoming a fullback in her senior year.
In her first two seasons at Harvard, Kellogg was again a defensive standout, despite another position switch, this time to link. But she says her move this year to forward has been her best opportunity. While not purely an offensive position, the change allows her to help coordinate the Crimson's scoring threat.
While a forward must be able to penetrate the opposing defense for a shot or a penalty corner, coach Edie MacAusland expects Kellogg to adjust to all situations, including a defensive role and midfield pressure when the opposition gains possession.
"On the field Elaine is a ferocious competitor. She is the most tenacious and aggressive forward on the team when it comes to tackling back once we have lost possession," MacAusland says.
Kellogg's teammates' election of her as co-captain with fellow junior Chris Sailer this year surprsied and pleased her, named co-captain came as a real shock to me--I had fully expected the team to elect a senior for the job," Kellogg says.
Even if the confidence her teammates displayed in her ability as a leader came as a surprise, the role is a familiar one. As a co-captain of her high school team in her final two years there, she led the team to the state small school championship both years, a tribute to her leadership skills.
Kellogg sees her job as including off the field responsibilities as well as field general duties. Besides trying to give 100 per cent on the playing field, she tries to concentrate on building team spirit and avoiding conflicts that might develop between team members.
So far building team morale has not proved a difficult task, because the stick-women arrived for pre-season training in high spirits. MacAusland quickly had them working double-time and playing as a unit with winning placed above personal success, a positive attitude that has carried over into the season.
"There are no real internal problems for me to contend with on the field hockey team," she says. "Like most of the other women's teams in the College, the players are too concerned with team effort and overall performance to waste time worrying about individual showing."
The loss of junior stand-out Sarah Mleczko, a star on last year's team whose class schedule ruled out her playing this season, might have put a dampener on the squad, but Kellogg glows with optimism on the team's prospects despite the loss.
"Sure the offense suffered with the loss of Sarah, but I am confident that we have the talent on the team to make up for the loss," she says. "The way the team has approached the problem is a perfect example of just how motivated we are."
Follow the Leader
Coach MacAusland cites Kellogg's leadership as one of the main reasons the team has the spirit it does. "Elaine is a casual and relaxed leader which allows team members to be more comfortable among themselves and enjoy the game more," MacAusland says.
A social anthropology major, Kellogg places a high priority on her academic pursuits. Although she has no definite career plans, Latin American development attracts her interest. She looks at field hockey as an asset to her education because it forces her away from the desk for a while each day and gives her a chance for a valuable study break.
Right now Elaine Kellogg concentrates on getting ready for tomorrow's game against Penn. She and her teammates have set their sights on the Ivy Championship, and tomorrow is the Ivy opener. A veteran of a high school championship squad, she now plans for a collegiate match, attracting a crowd that wouldn't bother her at all.