Fantastic Field Hockey Captain: Sydney Matthews
Sydney Matthews ’23 serves this year as co-captain of the Varsity Field Hockey team alongside Ava Littman ’23. While she’s unable to play this season due to a torn ACL, Matthews nonetheless manages to encourage and motivate her teammates from the sidelines.
Matthews joined the field hockey team in seventh grade after realizing that she despised soccer and would rather have a fresh start in terms of fall sports. Matthews said that initially “it was really difficult starting a new sport and having no experienced players on the team. Once I learned the basics and how the sport was played, I became obsessed. I even built a field hockey goal with my dad for my yard so I could practice all the time.” When asked what she enjoys most about field hockey, Matthews replied, “Probably playing with my best friend, Ava, and being captains together. I enjoy being able to be myself around my teammates and struggle through tough games together.”
As co-captain, it’s Matthews’ responsibility to motivate her teammates and encourage them to always go above and beyond their expectations. Her teammate Daya Baum ’24 said, “Syd is always a friendly face on and off the field. She always makes me laugh and feel better during hard drills or stressful games, and she is awesome at creating a positive environment during the field hockey season. Though not physically on the field this year, she always shows up and makes practice more fun just with her presence. I love her attitude and her joy, and I wouldn’t want anyone else as our captain.” Reagan Botti ’23 agreed: “I’ve been playing field hockey with Sydney since seventh grade and she’s always been a supportive and fun person to play next to. Her commitment to her sports has been particularly admirable this year with her torn ACL. Even though she’s unable to play field hockey, she’s never missed a single practice. I really think that makes her one of the most deserving captains Hopkins has this fall.”
Holding the title of captain is an undeniably stressful position, and when asked how she handles that pressure, Matthews replied, “I feel a lot of pressure to make sure I positively affect the team since I can't actually play on the field with them. There's also pressure coming from returning players who will be better this season than the last. This is really difficult for me since I can't help us succeed in the game, so instead I try to support everyone from the sidelines.” Kiersten Brennan ’24 praised Matthews’ ability as captain, saying: “Sydney is such an incredible captain and friend to everyone on the team. She never runs out of positivity and good advice and always inspires us by leading by example.”
With six years of field hockey experience under her belt, Matthews stated that “over time I’ve learned how to handle disappointment with losing and working as a team. Knowing how to tell people when you're frustrated in a way that’s helpful and not hurtful is so important in team sports and has helped me so much.” Matthews hopes to continue playing field hockey on a club team in college. Matthews’ advice to her teammates going forward is “Honestly, just show up and work hard. If you come to practice every day with enthusiasm and a strive to improve then you’ll have fun and do well in the sport. showing that you care is what the coaches want to see the most and is what got me to being captain today.”