A Female Umpire Wrapped in a Rainbow

Competition on the field, fun off the field

Story: Cynthia van Mourik, Pictures: Evelien de Haan

According to our reporter Cynthia, the field hockey competitors are just one big family. 

If a team runs short of a player, no one panics, they just borrow one from another team. Competition is important, but it’s not everything, not all eyes are on the top prize. Taking part, family spirit, and having fun are just as important. 

Right now the sun is shining and the players are applying and reapplying their sunblock, many of them are used to playing in temperatures above 30 degrees, however, as long as the family is present fun is as well. 

Ferret is one of the few female umpires in hockey today, despite being in a wheelchair, she gets the job done, For Ferret, lack of access and inconvenience is made up for by the warmth and familiarity of the EuroGames.

Ferret had to fight for her place as an umpire, previously she played hockey at a national level. Three years ago she lost the use of her legs, however, not having hockey in her life was simply not an option for her. Ferret has the same skills she always had and this makes her a great umpire. 

Cynthia also met up with the Dutch team ‘BabyGays’, from the sidelines, the team spirit is palpable. Over the years they have proven themselves and are now the title defenders. Their 10th anniversary is coming up and the team is only getting better and better.

They also have their traditions, for instance, if they’re losing they take off their shirts for the last 10 minutes of the game. But it’s not just the BabyGays that have traditions, Royal Union always brings a dog along as a mascot. 

A huge part of the hockey tournament is hosted by the Pink Hockey Federation. They organize Pink Hockey tournaments around the world and offer support to local gay and lesbian teams and individual players. They are very pleased with what they’re seeing so far and it feels incredible getting back together after Covid, playing and competing with each other again.  Pink hockey is thrilled to have the Eurogames in Nijmegen. The Netherlands is a true field hockey country and that makes organizing the tournament easier. All the players feel so very welcome.