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Mehak Sharma decided to pick up the sport of field hockey as a freshman at North Haven and, four years later, she’s very happy she made that choice. Mehak knows that her family appreciates how she continued its deep tradition in the sport. (Photo courtesy of Mehak Sharma )
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Mehak Sharma was brand new to field hockey upon joining the squad at North Haven High School as a freshman. However, Mehak comes from a family that has a rich history in the sport, and having that support in her corner helped her pick up things rather quickly. Now a senior, Mehak recently completed a nice career with the Indians.
“My dad played field hockey, my uncle played, and my grandpa played, so it ran in the family. There was no pressure to play, but figured why not try it?” says Mehak. “In India, it’s a national sport and a big deal. My dad was fairly good when he played, so it was a lot of measure up to.”
Mehak says her entire family was thrilled when she told them she wanted to play field hockey. Right away, Mehak and her family members got to work as they started teaching her the basics of the sport.
“When I expressed interest, they were ecstatic for carrying on the family tradition. [My dad] worked with me on passing, dribbling, and was very supportive,” Mehak says. “In the beginning of my freshman year, it was difficult and frustrating at first, because I never played before. There’s a lot of hand-eye coordination.”
Mehak, who played midfielder, focused on becoming a great leader throughout her years with the Indians. Mehak’s dedication was rewarded when she was named one of the captains for Head Coach Kim Bouffard’s club this fall.
“She was a great captain because she had amazing leadership qualities. She led by example, was always positive, and was a calming factor for us both on and off the field,” says Bouffard of Mehak. “She communicated well. She was able to communicate with the players and let them know where the ball was going to be. She was able to portray that on the field, being such a good leader.”
Mehak says she really enjoyed holding a captain’s role at North Haven. Along the way, Mehak discovered that she possessed leadership qualities she didn’t think she had.
“Being captain, you’re designated to be the leader. There’s a huge respect that goes with being a captain, and it definitely showed me that I’m able to assert myself,” says Mehak. “I think it definitely was a huge honor for me to be a captain. I didn’t realize that these many girls looked up to me.”
Mehak also decided to join North Haven’s rugby club during her sophomore year. Rugby was a brand new sport to Mehak and her teammates, and it became one that she grew to love for its rough-and-tumble nature.
“Tackling stuck out to me, so I figured I’d try it,” Mehak says. “It’s a huge women-empowerment sport, and you learn a lot about yourself. There are no helmets and no pads. You just go out there with a mouth guard, and you’re ready to go. The aspect of getting out there, tackling, and giving it your all—that’s what attracted me to rugby.”
Mehak says that she’d like to continue with both field hockey and rugby at the club level in college. This way, she can continue displaying the gritty style of play that became her trademark at North Haven.
“I have a lot of grit. We don’t have a great record on our team, but every game, I give 150 percent. Then I come back to practice ready to work,” says Mehak. “I feel like you don’t need the most skill to be good, because that can be taught. Desire can’t be taught. That’s my biggest quality.”
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