Remember not long ago when girls high-school field hockey matches used to take about an hour, or a bit longer to play? Throw in any overtime, maybe 90 minutes, tops.
No more, unfortunately.
Recent changes to matches have added extra time to each varsity contest. They can now last two hours or so, depending on the length of any overtimes that might occur.
Used to be the matches were two 30-minute halves of regulation, with a five-minute halftime. That changed recently. Matches are now four 15-minute quarters, with three-minute breaks between each. With the stoppage and starting of play and the comings and goings around those breaks, two extra three-minute breaks add up, so matches become much longer.
If a match is tied after regulation, there can be two 15-minute overtime periods, if neither team scores, with a short break between the two. Plus, each overtime includes about a minute or more when the clock stops for teams to switch ends of the field.
After those OTs, if necessary, more time is needed for the deciding penalty-strokes session. That all adds up to a lot of extra time and matches that have become too long.
It’s no surprise, really. The additional time is consistent with the theme of all sports these days. Contests and events all last longer, because no serious measures are addressed to shorten any of the action.
Another example is girls high-school softball. Games used to speed along, lasting about an hour. Now there is much more drag time, so games consistently take in a two-hour range. Same for high-school baseball.
Additional innings haven’t been added to either game, at least yet. The big change is hitters are allowed to step out of the batter’s box after each pitch, and pitchers take way too darn long to throw the next pitch.
That should all end.