By Ryan Laverty
She may have only been here for a single season but Carolyn Fitzgerald definitely left her mark on the Dinos field hockey team. According to sources the mark looks a lot like the one a beer bottle leaves on a hardwood bar.
"I’ve drank with the best of them and she’s definitely not bad," laughed Head Coach Carl Dalton recalling a post-season trip to the Dinos volleyball games proceeded by a night at the Den. "She can handle the fluid quite well. In fact I’d say she’s something of a connoisseur."
The source of her affinity for the bottle is unknown but there seem to be two coexisting hypotheses. One idea is her small-town upbringing in Bancroft, Ont. The second assumption–probably the more likely one–is she acquired her skills while attending Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Queen’s was a home away from home for four years for the field hockey phenom and while she may have picked up a couple beers in her time there, books were her vice of choice. While playing for the Golden Gaels, Fitzgerald managed to finish her Biochemistry degree within the four-year minimum. After graduation a change of venue was in order for the 24-year old–and her compass pointed her West.
"As far as I was concerned, field hockey was over and the next phase of my life was a graduate program," said Fitzgerald. "The U of C just seemed like the best place for me to go at the time."
"Hockey," as she bluntly refers to it, was just a fringe benefit. There was a coaching shuffle taking place at our beloved institution at the time so she wasn’t able to contact the Dinos until a couple of weeks prior to her arrival. But when she did make contact she was welcomed with open arms. Having transferred from one university team to another, Fitzgerald was forced by Canadian Interuniversity Sport regulations to sit out a year of competition–a stipulation she took in stride.
"I started practising with the team as soon as I got here but I knew I couldn’t play in the CIS," she said. "It wasn’t that big a deal though. I got to know the girls and come indoor season I was able to play with them."
Whether it was her time away from competition or just her God-given talent shining through, "Nana"–as she was lovingly nicknamed by her team–parlayed her practice season into an all-star performance for the Dinos in 2001. She did everything the team and coaches expected of her and then some, easing the transition into the Post-Teresa McLaughlin years.
"Carolyn was amazing," said a more serious Dalton. "She was the complete package. Great student, great athlete and great person. She was part of the gang but she also had the ability to step up and be the leader when it was called for."
Only a Dino for a short period of time Fitzgerald loved her time here as much as her team loved having her. She will finish her Master’s in Biochemistry next year and is looking forward to her tryout with the Canadian national team this spring. From there who knows where she’ll go, but she’ll take her time in Calgary with her.
The campus should raise a pint and toast Carolyn Fitzgerald.