Leap of Faith

It was the fall of my freshman year, and I wanted to play a spring sport. I thought I wasn’t good enough at any school sports to make a team. I desperately wanted to play; I just had no idea how it was going to happen.

The answer came in a note from one of my friends. She couldn’t decide what sport she was going to do either. Among a list of her options, there it was, sitting innocently on the page. Lacrosse. I thought about trying out, and talked to my friend Hope who already played. She assured me that it was tons of fun. The more I chewed on the idea, the more I liked it. I knew that I didn’t have a very good chance of making the team, but I hoped that since it wasn’t popular at our school, less people would be trying out. I thought that would give me at least a little chance. I promised myself that I would try out, no matter what. It was my leap of faith, and I hoped I would land on the team.

In the next few weeks, I managed to convince two of my friends to try out with me. Both Maren and Alice had toyed with the idea of playing a school sport, and even though all three of us had no idea how to play lacrosse, we all bought sticks and started to practice. I was determined that if I was going to try out, I had better try my hardest. I went running, and started learning how to throw and catch the ball. At first, I just tossed the small rubber ball back and forth with my dad in the basement.
When I had gotten the hang of that, my dad would unlock our church building for Maren and me, and we would practice in the gymnasium at night. We threw the ball to each other, against the wall, and ran drills that we had learned at conditioning. When other people were in the gym, we practiced outside in the cold. Alice came with us when she could. We did this for months through the winter. Whenever I was tired of practicing, or when I got scared that I wasn’t good enough, I would remind myself that I had already made the jump, and I couldn’t quit now. As tryouts drew closer, I had Hope come and teach us the rules of the game. She gave us a rough outline of the positions and their jobs, which I had mostly forgotten by the time tryouts rolled around. That definitely didn’t ease my nerves.

Tryouts were a week long. Every day for hours after school, coaches watched us run laps, do drills, throw the ball, and scrimmage along with dozens of other girls. I dropped that ball constantly, and had no idea what I was doing in scrimmages. Unlike the more popular sports, lacrosse didn’t have a freshman team. They only had Jr. Varsity and Varsity places to fill. I knew that I wouldn’t get in on skill alone, so I tried to show my coaches that even though I wasn’t the best, I was going to work my tail off to get better.

On Friday, aching, sweaty, and exhausted, I had a sliver of hope that I might get in, even if my friends didn’t. I thought that I was better than them, because Maren wasn’t aggressive enough, and I had been able to practice more than Alice. I knew that these were selfish thoughts, yet my heart still sunk when the three of us were called together into the hall to hear our fate. Since the three of us were all getting the same result, I figured we would be cut. We sat down, and the coaches ran through their speech of, “We know you’ve worked really hard and we appreciate your effort,” and my heart plummeted right to my toes. I knew that they were trying to break it to us kindly. I don’t remember the exact words, but my heart rushed back into place when my coach said, “We’ve decided to let you on the team.”

Well. I can’t say that I didn’t scream, but I can say that I held my composure until we weren’t in the hall anymore. And after tryouts ended, outside in the chill air on the front steps of the school, I yelled with no restraint. We had a party that night on the steps, Maren, Alice, and I, celebrating not just my, but our acceptance onto the team. I was also celebrating us, for our leap of faith-for the courage to try, the strength to endure, and the will to succeed!





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