North Branford Patch: What attracted you to field hockey?
Bailey McGinnis: I play ice hockey as well so, because they had the same name, I figured they had to be similar. Some of my friends played as well so they encouraged me to play.
Meagan Halligan: Both my aunts and my mother played field hockey. I had played soccer so I caught on quickly because they are similar.
Danielle Hottin: It looked like a challenging sport and I like to challenge myself so I decided to take it on. It's the constant action, from offense down to defense. Also, the girls on the team were really welcoming and made it enjoyable.
North Branford Patch: What makes field hockey different from the other sports at North Branford High School?
McGinnis: We always try our hardest. We have a big heart on our team. When we come together, we always work as a team. It shows on the field that we all get along and respect each other.
Halligan: I think that the field hockey team is very close because of everything we do together–fundraisers, team sleepovers, team dinners. It's like a family.
Hottin: It's definitely the unity. It's a lot of work, but because we're here together all the time, we build a bond. You feel that you're friends and family, rather than just teammates.
North Branford Patch: Now that you're a captain, how has your relationship with the coaches changed?
McGinnis: We talk to them a lot more off the field. You become closer to them and more comfortable with them so you can go to them with any problem.
Halligan: We've always been close with the coaches, but this brought it to a new level because they trust us more now.
Hottin: It brings you closer because you are constantly communicating. But also, they are on you more than everyone else. They pressure you more because they know you can handle it.
North Branford Patch: What kind of leader do you try to be for your teammates?
McGinnis: I don't want them to fear me because I want them to come to me with anything.
Halligan: I still want my teammates to look at me like a friend, but at the same time, I want to be someone that they look to with respect.
North Branford Patch: What did you do this summer to prepare for this season?
Halligan: We went to Revolution Field Hockey Camp in Pomfret, Connecticut. Myself and nine other players went, and we all stayed together so it was good team bonding.
McGinnis: It was definitely a lot of bonding time.
North Branford Patch: What is the most challenging part of being a captain?
McGinnis: For me personally, it's living up to my own standards. As captain, I set even higher standards for myself to try to be best I can and always keep going. Sometimes it's hard because you can get tired and frustrated.
Halligan: There's a fine line between being a friend and being a captain. You want to maintain a friendship, but you still want to have the respect. You can't be too harsh, but you can't be too easy. You have to have a balance.
Hottin: For me it's keeping my cool. It's also drawing the line between friendship and responsibility. I always looked up to my captains, so I want the same for the underclassmen on the team. You need to push them and encourage them to push themselves. You can't be their best friend, you can't have the best of both worlds.
North Branford Patch: Can you describe a day in the life of a field hockey captain?
McGinnis: We have sister groups and we have to make sure each group does their individual job, like bring out the balls, the medical kit or the ice. Once we're out on the field, we have to get everyone to stretch and we lead the stretches.
Halligan: We plan events like pasta dinners and fundraisers. When the team is on the field, we have to make sure that everyone is giving 100 percent and if not, we're the ones who have to push them to get them going.
Hottin: Each practice we bring out a certain amount of balls, and you have to make sure that you start and finish with the same amount of balls. If we lose one, we run a mile around the track for each ball we lost. It's beneficial because this whole game is running. If someone on the team is struggling, you have to help them understand what's wrong. You're there as a big sister.
North Branford Patch: What are your goals for the season, both personally and for the team?
McGinnis: For the team, to hopefully win Shorelines again because we won last year. Also, to see the team grow each day because we have a young team this year. For me personally, I would like to break my goals and points record from last year, but I'd rather our team did well before myself.
Halligan: Personally, I'd like to beat my own record for goals scored. For the team, I'd like to have a winning record and hopefully win Shorelines.
Hottin: I would love for us to make states and possibly win Shorelines. It's a rebuilding year for us, but once we start clicking, we can push for states. For me personally, I just want to lead the team the best I can and fill the shoes of the great captains we had last year.
North Branford Patch: The team is smaller this year. How will that impact this season?
McGinnis: There are less girls than normal, but that means that our team will be closer. Less players also makes it easier to run drills.
Halligan: In some ways it will be good because the team will be closer and less separated. With a team like this, you get to play with people one-on-one a lot more.
Hottin: It can be frustrating. In practice your coach will tell you one thing and you think, "Well, last year we did this," and you have to keep in mind that it's a totally new team. The hardest part is learning to work with each other. It comes with time.
North Branford Patch: How would you describe Babby Nuhn as a coach?
Halligan: She makes it fun, but she also pushes you. I know that if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have gotten to where I am.
Hottin: She gives her passion and energy to everyone else. When she yells on the field, she tries to encourage you and push you because she knows you can handle it and you can do better. Her love for the sport rubs off. I'm obsessed with this sport now.
To be featured in ‘A Day in the Life’ or to suggest someone who should be profiled, send information to Jim Gangi.