In the Locker Room with Jodi Helsel and Claire Yeske
This week the Review sat down with junior field hockey players Jodi Helsel and Claire Yeske to discuss the team’s season, the dangers of playing field hockey and Beyoncé’s importance to the team
What are your thoughts on the season so far?
Claire Yeske: It’s going really well so far. We’ve made significant progress, both [from] last season to this season and also from the beginning of the season to this point. Our record doesn’t necessarily reflect the strides that we’ve made, but I think we’ve made progress in some really big games. In Our DePauw [University] game and our game against Bentley [University], we really stepped it up.
Are you looking forward to the games in Indiana and West Virginia over fall break?
CY: We’re going the NCAA Hall of Fame in Indianapolis. It’s going to be great. I can’t wait.
Jodi Helsel: I am ecstatic. We also are going to Tennessee. Now, I’m looking for fun things for the team to do in Indiana, which is actually pretty challenging. I found a really cool Vice Presidents museum, but it’s unfortunately not open when we’re there.
How do you think the team has changed since your first years?
CY: Even from last year to this year, it’s changed a lot. We have eight first-years this year, which is almost half of our roster, and they’re really good. They’ve made the returners step their game up for sure. We’ve always had a small team, so I think the one thing that’s remained consistent throughout the time I’ve been here is how close the the team is. We have each other’s backs.
JH: Yeah, we go to bat for each other.
How do you integrate the first-years into the team?
CY: I think that they’ve integrated pretty seamlessly. There’s definitely a wide range of personalities. Some of them were ready to hang immediately, and some were a little slower to warm up.
JH: We häz them intensely. There’s one of those double things on the ‘a’. Just kidding, we don’t haze anyone. We’re sort of forced to integrate. Our preseason forces us to be together for the entire time. [Integration] just happens.
What makes field hockey a cool sport to play?
CY: It’s dangerous. People break their faces a lot, so that’s fun. Thankfully we haven’t had any broken faces yet this year.
JH: The go-to answer is that we wear skirts, but we don’t do that anymore. So, there’s literally no reason to go to our games. Just kidding! There’s a fun hill that you can watch our games from.
How do you keep a positive mindset even when the team isn’t playing as well as you’d like?
CY: I’m probably not the person to ask about that.
JH: We aren’t winning a lot of games right now, but we have winnable games. We have a lot of hope for the future. We’re exactly half way through our season. This coming weekend, we’re going to kill it. Even though we haven’t done so well thus far, we all feel like we’re in a really good place to finish out the season.
Does the team have any pre- or post-game rituals?
CY: Our coach has been pushing for us to have individual pre-game rituals. Some people have been resistant to that idea, though. We always listen to Beyoncé. She’s been elevated to the status of a maternal goddess figure for our team.
JH: We have a new one that we brought in this year. We played in Boston earlier in the season, and my aunt gave me this block robot thing. She gave it to me and said, ‘This will help you in your soccer game today.’ I was like, ‘Thanks, I play field hockey.’ My aunt named it Sweet Patootie. Sweet Patootie’s PGPs are they, them and theirs. We pass Sweet Patootie before every game in our Flocka (the field hockey locker room) and we tell Sweet Patootie our goals. Sometimes, Sweet Patootie has feedback. They’ve given us some magic. I also wanted to go pet the Ginko cats before every game, but who has time for that?
Do you ever get hit in the shins with the field hockey sticks?
CY: Constantly. We wear shin guards, but it still hurts. You get hit in the hands a lot.
JH: I have [things that look like] bullet wounds on both shins because I used to wear soccer shin guards. Claire hit me in the hand with the ball once, too.
What is your favorite Oberlin field hockey memory?
CY: Jodi’s should be when we beat Kenyon College. She scored the game-winning goal. Beating Wittenburg [University], too.
JH: Claire’s future favorite moment is all of senior year. She’s going to confront all of her enemies.
Any last words?
JH and CY: Eloise sucks [laughs].