Saturday, September 6, 2008
An informal meeting was held among MHF, the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) and the National Sports Council (NSC), but nothing concrete came out of it.
And there has been silence since.
“Yes, we have yet to meet again after the initial discussion, but I assure all that the idea will take flight by next year,” said MHF coaching and development chairman C. Parama lingam.
The MHF council had decided to hand age-group hockey back to school, where MSSM will organise the The Cham pions School, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 with the MHF providing the technical aspect of the game.
MHF will only concentrate on the Under-21, Junior Hockey League, Malaysia Hockey League and the Razak Cup.
“This plan will work on a long-term basis to help hockey in the country. Lets take the under-12 as an example. If we start next year, in 10 years time, the boys will be ready to represent the country in major international tournaments.
“The MHF Coaching and Development Committee will help MSSM by providing coaches for grassroots development where there are no teachers with qualifications, as in this way systematic development can start from next year in schools.
“And we also plan to administer the same coaching system for all the age-group, so that when the players mature into national material, the coach will not have to start from scratch again.
“This system has long been practiced in many European countries, and their medals speak of its success,” said Paramalingam.
That is, provided the plan does not remain a plan, like the Wawasan Hoki Negara, which is being slowly choked to oblivion by a thick layer of dust.
Smith played on the U.S. women's Olympic field hockey team, scoring two goals in the team's first victory. The 1997 Selinsgrove High School graduate has played for a decade on U.S. national field hockey teams, drawing inspiration from her grandmother and her father, Neal, who was an All-American safety at Penn State.
She's a great young lady, we're very proud of her," Selinsgrove High School principal Reed Messmore said. "She brings pride to the school."
How does Smith describe her stay in the Olympic village? In a word -- indescribable.
"I say to everyone that words will never describe what it was like. It was amazing just to be a part of so many great athletes," she said.
Messmore and Selinsgrove Mayor Pete Carroll will honor Smith tonight during a pre-game commemoration at the Selinsgrove High School football game vs. Mifflinburg at Harold L. Bolig Memorial Stadium. Smith will also speak to students next Friday, Messmore noted. She'll be able to impart to them something that's become a theme in her life: The idea that no matter where you go, your roots are always with you.
"Although hockey has allowed me to travel the world, I don't feel any different as a person. It's important to never forget where you came from," said Smith. "I always love to come home."