Kate’s goal: Duchess promotes Olympic field hockey

She shoots, she scores!

The former Kate Middleton smashed home a goal Thursday as she

played a bit of field hockey while visiting the British Olympic

women’s team at Olympic Park. The Duchess of Cambridge, who

captained the hockey team at her high school, Marlborough College,

took the field in a morale-boosting mission ahead of the July

27-Aug. 12 London games.

Admitting it’s been a while since she had taken a stick in hand,

she tried to suggest that no one should watch. That notion was

ignored.

”I was really looking forward to coming here, but now I am here

and have discovered I have to play, I am not feeling so

confident,” she said.

The glamorous Kate arrived at Olympic Park in heels but quickly

donned a gray ”Team GB” (Great Britain) sweatshirt over

coral-colored jeans. She expressed some concern that her skinny

jeans would clash with the bright blue pitch, but gamely grabbed a

stick and took a few shots.

”This is going to be so embarrassing,” she said. ”My brain

thinks I can do all these wonderful things but my body just doesn’t

play ball.”

Clearly she was sandbagging the crowd of journalists. Although

no one was at the net to block a goal, Kate took a big swing and

let the ball fly.

Zing. It was in.

The Olympic team captain, Kate Walsh, pronounced herself

impressed.

”She told me that she missed playing as part of a team,” Walsh

said. ”She also told me that she used to hit the penalty corners

and you could see that. She got low and her shots were really

sweet.”

Kate, 30, had specifically asked to meet with the hockey team as

part of her role as an Olympic ambassador. Together with Princes

William and Harry, she will make an effort to see and be seen at

the London Olympics and to cheer the home side on.

But before Thursday, few really knew what sports she might like

to see.

The team seemed to appreciate that she was willing to risk

embarrassing herself to help promote their sport. She chatted with

U.K. coaches, trainers and players, asking about training.

”Do you still get bananas and oranges at halftime?” she

asked.

The visit seemed to evoke a time when she was just Kate, not a

duchess, not the wife of a prince, not someone whose wedding was

watched by millions around the world.

The duchess recalled wistfully how she used to play her hockey

position.

”I really enjoyed it,” she said. ”And it is great to be

here.”