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Tatum Dobbins has grown up always knowing what she wanted. As soon as she stepped on Towson University campus her freshman year for the field hockey play day, Tatum knew this was where she wanted to attend and play field hockey. “My mom kept telling me to keep my options open and I would just tell her ‘No, I am going to Towson", she said with a laugh. The team culture, the players, the distance from home, the facilities, school spirit, and head coach E.A. Jackson, were the many reasons Dobbins fell in love with Towson. The day of the play day, Tatum, her mom, her aunt, and her aunt’s girlfriend, went downtown and toured the campus on their own. “I remember there were so many renovations happening, they were adding three new fields and a bunch of new buildings. I thought the campus was so beautiful and was excited that, with the renovations, it was going to be even more beautiful.” The newly enhanced athletic complex is on one side of the campus. “School spirit, especially around athletics, is really important to me. At my high school, ALJ, I’m at every game and I go all out in spirit and color, even when people make fun of me. A big sports school was always something very important to me!”
As for Coach Jackson, “She’s very maternal which was always important for me in a coach. I felt like many college coaches focused on the field but Jackson really focused on my life, my family, and academics. She cared about the small details.” Dobbins' search to find the perfect coach stemmed from having her mom as her coach for so many years. Dobbins mother, Katrina Poskay, has been the ALJ coach for 23 years and had the opportunity to coach her daughter in high school the past three years. Tatum also participated in many sports and traveled many, many miles up and down the east coast for club field hockey, all with her mom-and-coach-in-one in tow. “Coaching Tatum has been a dream come true. I love how much she loves the game, how much she understands the game, and that we talk about the game strategically. Sometimes our analysis allows us to connect in a different way - it helps us keep the emotion of coaching and playing in check and lets us break down things intellectually. But I would be lying if I said the emotional part, of both the successes and failures, didn’t make us as close as we are.” said Katrina about what it's been like for her to coach Tatum. Tatum and Katrina’s unique and special relationship extends beyond the home and into the field. “I am so excited for college but what I am most nervous about is not having my mom as my coach. As much as it's a love/hate relationship at times, it's what I've had my whole life and I’ve really enjoyed it all.”
As Dobbins looks forward to college she's excited to be around teammates and people who have the same love for the game. “Everyone at Towson has the same love for the game as I do - that is definitely the most exciting thing. It’s going to be exciting to know we are all there for the same reason.”
Dobbins began her recruiting process in her freshman year and was diligent and dedicated throughout her high school and club career to ensure she found a school and program that was the best for her. “I was always told not to put my eggs in one basket, but after the play day, I knew I only had one basket and that was Towson.” Dobbins knew what she wanted and worked carefully and continuously to make sure her dream became a reality. Dobbins felt her commitment and interest in Towson is what helped her get recruited. “I would email Coach Jackson after their games and congratulate the team on big wins. I updated highlight films for both club and high school and would email them to Coach Jackson all the time. I thought that if I kept in touch, they would see how interested and dedicated I was.`` Dobbins strategy worked and eventually Dobbins’ club coach, Jill Cosse, called Tatum one day and told her a call would be coming from Coach Jackson. “That is when we really connected and everything else fell into place.”
Dobbins then had an opportunity to meet and get to know some of the current Towson players. “On the call, they were very friendly and not at all standoffish. The girls all had different majors and grades and came from all different places. It was a great mix and I felt like they were helpful and very engaged.” Dobbins is considering studying business, marketing, or finance. “I want to be a buyer for a big company. I would like to be in charge of deciding what they sell. I had a family friend who worked for Macy’s and I always thought she had a really cool and interesting job. Within the fashion and home decor world, there are many opportunities.”
High School/GRIT History
Tatum has always had sports in her life. In middle school when her town didn’t have a women’s lacrosse team, Tatum decided to play with the boys on the middle school boy’s lacrosse team. “It was really so much fun and it was such a growing experience.” Dobbins is still involved in the men’s lacrosse team at ALJ as the manager and statistician.
Dobbins started club field hockey at a very early age and is still playing with many of her teammates. “Playing with the GRIT girls gave me a sense of family that I have always looked for in hockey. Even though they are all from the same school they always made me feel so welcome and comfortable. I wouldn’t want to spend weekends all over the country with anyone else”, Dobbins said of her friendship with her club teammates.
For her high school team, Dobbins is an integral player on the field as well as a strong leader on and off the field. “I think bringing our team together off the field helps us more on the field. If we act like a family, have all the girls buy into it and love the game as much as I do, we will be a very powerful team on the field.” The friendships that come out of field hockey, are what is truly most important to Tatum. “I care so much about my teammates. Whether it is during the season, during a game, or in the middle of the summer, I care most about the friendships that come from the team. It’s nice to know we can hang out, we can talk, and I always have people to turn to.”
Dobbins work ethic and vision of the field is what makes her an integral player on her high school and club teams. “I think I understand the game really well, I grew up watching it at every level and I’ve been so immersed in the game for so long. The girl next to me might be more athletic or have more strength than me but I know I know the game really well.” When talking about developing in college Tatum feels her work ethic is a strength and will continue to be for her throughout her field hockey career. “My mentality is that if I’m not good at something then it is my responsibility to become better at it and I’ll work for anything. That's the mentality I will have going into my freshman year of college - the things I can control I will work for and go get them.”
Throughout life, sports, and field hockey recruitment Tatum has her mom to thank the most. “She is always doing way more than she ever needed to do. Even when I was crazy she was there to support me always. She’s my mom, my friend, and my coach. She has all the labels and she’s always done them all so well for me.”
Tatum playing youth boys middle school lacrosse in 6th grade