In most sports played in America, the tendency to believe that the English language is the only useful means of communication for athletes is now a fallacy.
Virginia Gonzalez, otherwise known as V-A, had to recently adapt to playing her sport not only in English, but also in Spanish.
The Co-Captain of the Owls field hockey team is coming off a run with the Puerto Rican National field hockey team, and is now looking forward to helping guide the Owls to the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Gonzalez, a 5-foot-5-inch senior out of Reading, Pa., said her experience on the Puerto Rican National team is a bit more challenging.
“The big difference when playing for the national team was that I’ve been playing field hockey in English since I was nine years old,” Gonzalez said.
As a player on both the Owls and the Puerto Rican National team, Gonzalez must always shout on-field information to her teammates.
“I’m big on communication,” Gonzalez said, “so of course it was tough being a communicator on the field when playing in Spanish.”
Either way, Gonzalez loves to face the challenge of being a leader on the team.
“In general, the game is pretty much the same,” said Gonzalez of collegiate and national competition.
“I still have to help lead the team to victory.”
Victories seem to be the only expectation from Gonzalez and the Owls for the 2002 season.
Team unity, according to Gonzalez, seems to be the key for Owl domination in the A-10.
“I think the difference this year is that we all play together, we all consider ourselves as being equal,” Gonzalez said.
“We have no distinction between each other, whether we are a senior, junior, sophomore, or freshman.”
The team seems to have a great knowledge of the word “team.”
“We are all here to do the same thing, we’re all here to play field hockey and win games,” Gonzalez said.
“Our strength is playing as a team, we don’t have five or six superstars…we have just a solid 25 players. When we play together as a team, we’re awesome.”
Evidence shows that this statement is indeed correct.
The Owls were ranked in the top 20 in the nation last year at one point, and have even higher expectations this year.
Gonzalez, along with the rest of the team, wants to bring home the glory from the A-10 title.
“I expect that we will finish in the top two in the conference, and go to the Atlantic-10 tournament,” Gonzalez said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if we play like we did today, [vs. Iowa] we’re going to do great this season.”
So when Gonzalez darts down the field this season with fire in her eyes, the campus just might be singing some tunes heard often on the radio…”Puerto Rico!! O-oh!!”
David Rankin-Gunning can be reached at DGUNN11@aol.com