The Atlantic Coast Conference tournament is coming to town. No, not the ACC hoops tournament. And not its football championship game, which is in Florida this year. What's coming to the University of Maryland next week is the ACC field hockey tournament.
This is a big deal. The nation's top four field hockey teams -- Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland and North Carolina -- are in the ACC. And the two other ACC schools with field hockey teams, Boston College and Virginia, are in the Top 20 and plenty tough. (Two area schools not in the ACC, American and James Madison universities, are also in the Top 20.)
If you play field hockey or just love the game, you should plan to watch the six ACC teams battle it out for the conference title and a bid to the NCAA tournament. You can check out the matchups and game times at www.umterps.com (click on "Field Hockey").
If you have never seen top-flight women's field hockey, get your mom or dad to take you to one of the games next Thursday, Friday or Sunday. You will be in for a big surprise.
The action in field hockey is fast and furious. The field at Maryland's College Park campus is artificial turf, so there are no bad bounces or balls stuck in uncut grass. Instead, the ball skims across the smooth surface at lightning speed. A few slick passes and cracks of the sticks, and the ball might be in the goal cage before you can scream "Score!"
Even if you are not a big field hockey fan, you still should go see Coach Missy Meharg's squad, which has a record of 18 wins and 2 losses. The Terps are my idea of a real team. They never stop hustling and playing hard. The instant a penalty is called on the other team, the Terps put the ball down and -- bang! -- it's back in play. When the call goes against them, they are back on defense in a flash. No arguments with the referee or moping around because of the call. Just nonstop effort and great team play.
I love teams that play together. That's why I'm rooting for the Terps to knock off top-ranked Wake Forest and win the ACC title.
Speaking of team play, it seems that 16-year-old soccer star Freddy Adu might have forgotten that, in team sports, the most important thing is the team. Adu chose right before the Major League Soccer playoffs to complain that D.C. United Coach Peter Nowak was not playing him enough.
The United suspended Adu for its playoff opener against the Chicago Fire last Friday (a 0-0 tie), reportedly because he would not apologize to his teammates.
Adu is still young. He makes mistakes on and off the field. Complaining about playing time before a big game is a big mistake. Adu should have kept quiet, played hard and showed his coach and teammates that he can help the United win.
Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's sports opinion column and is the author of sports novels for kids.