Since 1976, twelve teams from all over New England descend upon the Bement campus on the third Saturday in October to play in our historic Field Hockey Jamboree. It is middle school field hockey at its best. The level of play is extraordinary, the sportsmanship is impeccable, and the camaraderie is infectious. Parents arrive in the wee hours of the morning to set up their tents and an amazing array of food to sustain their teams and supporters throughout the day. Players, coaches, officials, runners, and timers arrive by 9 a.m. to get the day's play underway. Watches are synchronized to "Bement Standard Time" to keep the day on track. Teams play six 20-minute games, with a running clock, and this keeps the pace fast and the games exciting.
There is much tradition surrounding the Bement Field Hockey Jamboree. In 1976, Tom Falcon, then the athletic director at Bement, founded the tournament, and he returns to campus each year as the tournament's master scorer. The Bement students create a commemorative t-shirt, with sales benefitting the athletic department, and a festive banner consisting of previous years' t-shirts decorates the playground on campus where the enthusiastic crowd of supporters sets up their tents. Young women on college campuses have forged an instant bond upon spotting another student in a Jamboree t-shirt. Former participants have returned to the Jamboree, this time as coaches of their middle school team. Each Bement player receives a gingerbread cookie decorated with her name and jersey number at the end of the day, a tradition carried on by secret bakers year after year.
Former athletic director, Dorothy Milne, and Martha Price, upper school science department chair, are the coaches of the Bement field hockey team, and organizers of the Jamboree. Mrs. Milne has coached the Bement girls for over thirty years, teaching them the finer points of the game, and leading the team with her mantra: "Let's go have fun, and keep everything 'in the spirit of the day.'" That spirit is one of athleticism, teamwork, sportsmanship, and friendship, and lasts long beyond the jamboree.