Senior Becky Dru was a First Team All-American last year, and this year she captains the No. 14 Stanford field hockey team as it looks to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. The Stanford Daily sat down with the Buckinghamshire, England native to talk all things British, Stanford and field hockey.
The Stanford Daily: What really attracted you to Stanford, and what is about this place that you have enjoyed the most as you look back on your experience.
Becky Dru: That’s a difficult question. What attracted me here was really when I turned up and the facilities and the place was just out of this world. I come from a pretty small town in England, where the facilities are decent, but not nearly as amazing as Stanford. And then you get the academics and the people involved in the mix and you start to think that it could be a good place to be for four years. Since I’ve been here, the connections with faculty, friends, coaches, the whole mix of people really makes a difference.
TSD: Coming to school in the United States from England has been a big step. Was that something you spent a lot of time considering?
Dru: Actually, it was something I didn’t really think about until my senior year of high school. There was a letter asking if I had ever considered studying in the US, and I said no, but that I’d like to. So I just went through and filled out some forms, and then started realizing it was a very real possibility coming out here. I’ll be going back to study medicine in the UK, but the four years was definitely worthwhile. The life experience I’ve had here has made a real difference in what I can bring to medical school and life back home.
TSD: What has been the biggest adjustment to the culture here in America.
Dru: Probably the scale of things. In England everything’s a bit smaller. You walk to school, go to the shop ‘round the corner, walk your dog in the park and meet everyone you know. Whereas here you have to drive to the big city, you have to go into big supermarkets just to get some fruit. Everything’s on a much bigger scale. I don’t know if that makes any sense but it’s all a bit more grand. Like the Grand Canyon is a big deal here, where at home its Stonehenge, which is about one-fiftieth the size.
TSD: Big into field hockey.
Dru: In Europe in general field hockey is a lot bigger for both men and women. But here, women’s field hockey especially is really taking off. US made it to the Olympics this past summer, and its really becoming a sport that young girls at school can look up to and forward to participating in. Men at home play and it’s quite a tough sport, and here it’s like, “men play field hockey?”
TSD: Alright, what has been your favorite class at Stanford?
Dru: Well can I have two?
TSD: Yes, ok you can have two.
Dru: Ok great. Well at the moment I’m taking a class called Critical Issues in Child Health. It’s Humbio and all about child health and all the kinds of things that can go wrong in children. The professor’s amazing and it’s basically made me think of pediatrics as a future career. The other is an intro seminar I took as a junior, which is a little strange, but it was taught by a med school professor who basically presented case studies from people who came into the ICU, and you got to discover what was wrong with the patient, and how you would go about treating it, which is exactly what I want to do.
TSD: Like House?
Dru: Yes! Kind of like House, exactly! Maybe a little less complex.
TSD: You mentioned medical school. What about field hockey? Are you considering playing after you graduate?
Dru: College is not the end of the road. When I go home I’ll be playing for a club, and hopefully trying to make a run at the national team. Here it’s kind of a strange thing, people stopping playing at age 22 when your prime is not until later. At the Olympics the average age is 26, 27 so to stop before that is pretty crazy.
TSD: You’ve accomplished quite a lot in three years athletically, but what are you trying to do on the field and with your team as a senior?
Dru: This year is sort of more about getting the most out of it, in terms of fulfillment. While we’re obviously making runs at making the NCAA Tournament, making a run in that, making the Final Four, that sort of thing–quantifiably that’s what were trying to do. But on a personal level, its my final year at a place that I love with teammates that I love, and I just want to have the best experience I possibly can. If that involves winning everything, that’d be great; if not, it shouldn’t take anything away from the experience.
TSD: Last question. If you could tell people one thing about field hockey, what would you tell them?
Dru: A recent fact I learned, we have the fastest backswing of any sport out there. The backswing of a field hockey stick can reach up to 100 mph, which beats baseball, tennis, golf. We beat it all. So go watch, [laughing] I’ll get a little plug in there.
TSD: Perfect. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
Dru: Thank you so much.