A student-athlete’s final home game is like no other. There’s family on hand, extra fans in the stands, but Saturday’s finale felt like a field hockey funeral, with a mix of sadness and celebration.
“This was a special day,” senior Paige Pashea said. “Everyone tried to put us first and make us as happy as possible with what we’re going through right now.”
Pashea was one of several players honored ahead of what would have been their senior season next fall.
The business of college sports led to the death of the program, but unlike their careers as Bears, life goes on for these players.
“This whole week has been probably the worst week of my life and their lives,” head coach Catherine Ostoich said. “But it’s also been so amazing just to see how many people have reached out and been supportive to us.”
As if the game needed any more emotion injected into it, the team’s final opponent on campus was a team of Bears field hockey alumni.
“It was brilliant to go through it all together,” said Charlie Redhead, a Bears midfielder from 2011 to 2015. “It was kind of meant to be a happy weekend, but it was amazing everyone was together, the teammates, showing our support for the team.”
Parents, supporters and fellow student-athletes feel this ending for the program was prevantable. But the Bears said they were glad to spend the final day with their field hockey family.
“Everyone on the field was just calm,” Pashea said. “It was a bittersweet moment – obviously more bitter than sweet – but I was happy to be out there with my past teammates, my current teammates. This is how you want to end it, with everyone that loves you.”