Grasshopper co-founder from Wesley Chapel
By Kyle LoJacono
NEW TAMPA — Few would say field hockey is their favorite sport, but those who love it are fanatical about it.
“It’s just a great game to play,” Tampa Bay Grasshoppers president Jeff Grosvenor said. “We have people from all over the area coming to play and practice, and that shows how much they love field hockey.”
Grosvenor, 63, was born in Trinidad and moved to Wesley Chapel seven years ago from New York. He no longer plays field hockey because of recent left-knee surgery and pain in his right ankle.
Grosvenor, several of his co-workers at a financial services firm in Tampa and other fans of field hockey started the Grasshoppers in 2003 with five players. The club now has 35 men and women, many who attend the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa, that range from age 16 to 65.
One of Grosvenor’s co-workers and founding members is Ravinder Kullar, 54, of New Tampa. Others include Charlie Joseph of New Tampa and Michelle Legesse, team secretary, of Lutz.
Kullar, who plays center-half, was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to New Tampa at the same time as Grosvenor. He lived in London as a young man and played on the Under-22 English National Team.
“It’s a great time to run around and play field hockey,” Kullar said. “Jeff and I loved playing (on the same team) up north and wanted to find a place to play down here.”
The hardest thing for the Grasshoppers originally was to find a suitable field suitable for the sport. Kullar said the game is meant to be played on artificial turf because long grass makes the ball hard to control. The first site they tried was a baseball field in the Brandon area, but the grass was too long.
“It was fun, but (Ravinder) told me we needed to find a field with grass short enough so that we could see the ball once it is dropped,” Grosvenor said. “We have those fields now.”
The team practiced each Wednesday evenings until daylight saving time ended on Nov. 1 at the New Tampa Community Park. The Grasshoppers cannot practice in New Tampa because the field has no lights, but they will return to there when daylight saving time begins next March.
They also practice and play their games on Saturdays in Clearwater.
“We’re part of the Florida Field Hockey Association that has another team in south Tampa and ones in Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee and other places in Florida,” Grosvenor said. “Our season is March to October, and we play tournaments too.”
The Grasshoppers finished third in the seven-team league last year, and Grosvenor was recently named interim president for the FFHA.
“I won’t know how I feel about being interim president until the season starts, but I think I’ll like it,” Grosvenor said. “I like playing best, as referee second and as an organizer third; but I still love just being around the game.”
For more information on the team, visit www.tbfieldhockey.com or e-mail Grosvenor at .