Field Hockey Canada is celebrating National Volunteer Week from April 19-25. This week, we will feature a few volunteers from across the country. Thank you for the many nominations from your communities. We are thrilled to have such a terrific cast of volunteers and staff from coast-to-coast. Please enjoy our National Volunteer Week series!
Written and assembled by: Joshua Rey
Today’s featured volunteer is Diane Huneault of Burlington, Ontario. Diane is an umpire, manager, community supporter and tournament organizer. She is a dedicated volunteer with the Halton Field Hockey Club as well as Field Hockey Ontario.
Diane Huneault: When I was about 12, and a noted bookworm, I was given a novel that opened with the main character in the midst of her British private school ‘hockey’ game. Although I’d never heard of field hockey, I think somehow I must have identified with that character and her love of participating and giving your best effort regardless of whether winning or losing. It stayed with me. Organized sports were not a part of my growing up, but I loved getting on skates on frozen ice patches in our farm field and playing with homemade pucks and hockey sticks with my brothers and sister. My next exposure to field hockey came in my first year of university – I saw the game being played, even tried a practice or two, but my athletic abilities didn’t match up with what was required. But I was still interested. After graduation I moved for a job to the area where I now live. I was ecstatic to find a women’s club in my city, and went off to check it out. Within 3 or 4 years I learned the game well enough to want to take umpire and coaching courses to be able to contribute in those ways.
DH: There’s something about it that grabs, and I’ve seen school girls who’ve loved the game even when playing conditions were horrendous (long grass, muddy patches, etc), so I’m certain the game has an attraction for many more than just me. We are blessed to no longer have to play on grass, so it’s so much easier to sell the sport to a larger audience.
DH: Growing up, in my family volunteering was just a fact of life – my parents always were involved in the community. It was part of the social fabric. I think it is the same for me. Although I have gained a lot from my experiences, it’s more about being a part of, and contributing to, the community.
DH: My involvement has brought a lot of joy to my life, introduced me to a lot of friends, helped me to develop into the person I am now. I especially like the grass roots sport – everyone needs to be physically active and I like to grow the opportunities so more people can experience the joy of participating, no matter what their level of athletic ability, real or perceived.