Athletics

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Throughout my life athletics have been a strong influence in everything I do. I have tried a lot of sports, and I ended up pursuing field hockey and lacrosse in high school. The fast-paced movement of the ball and the independence I could have on the field, while still being a part of a team, made me fall in love with lacrosse. Along the way I have learned many different lessons about life just through the atmosphere of the sport and the actual game.
A key aspect in sports is competition. There is always competition among the opposing teams, but also between teammates for starting positions. Until you get to high school sports, playing time is something that is usually equal. I had always been an average player; I could keep up with everyone else and hold my own. It wasn’t until my sophomore year on the varsity lacrosse team that I found out what it was like to be a “bench player.” Playing time is not expected when you’re a sophomore on a varsity team, but there were a lot of girls in my grade and many of them maintained a starting position throughout the year. My dedication to the sport was quickly tested when I spent my time during practices sitting on the sidelines watching drills and not playing in any games. My opportunities to showcase my talent were slim; I played when someone needed a sip of water or when we were ahead by more than six goals. The girls who were playing over me had something that my coach thought I didn’t have yet, so I was going to take the time to try and learn it.
I spent the summer going into my junior year focusing on improving my skills at camps and tournaments. I was confident going into tryouts that I had a chance at seeing playing time. At the beginning of the season I got a starting position because a girl was injured, and I did my best to use the time I was given and show my coach that I deserved to be out there more often. When the girl recovered from her injury, I was quickly removed from the game. I didn’t see more than five minutes in a game for the rest of the season. After lots of tears and questioning, I came up with an idea. Instead of being disappointed that I wasn’t getting a chance on the field I told myself if I could say I gave it 100% in the amount of time that I was given, then I shouldn’t be upset. I realized that I cannot change my coach, but I can change how I think about my time on the sidelines.
The next game I made it my mission to tell each teammate as they came off the field something good that they did while on the field. During the game coaches don’t have the time, and don’t usually make the time to compliment their players. I thought maybe if I could say something to them that was encouraging then they would stay more positive. I figured that if I couldn’t do anything on the field I might as well do as much as I could off the field. I spent time watching the other teams’ key players and trying to figure out what their “go-to” moves were. I focused on what kind of dodges they used, if they shot high or low, and if they had a lot of speed. By the end of the season a few girls on my team were even asking me if I knew something about the girl they were guarding that would keep them a step ahead.
My junior season of lacrosse is what influenced me the most to want to become a coach. I found out that I understand the game of lacrosse very well, and although I may not be the best player on my team I could become a great coach. The time I have spent just watching the game and other players has taught me a lot about the sport itself. I can’t say that I enjoyed warming the bench for two seasons, but I made the decision to make it a positive experience. Instead of getting upset about a situation I didn’t have much control over, I used it to my advantage. I now have knowledge about the game that some other girls may have yet to learn, and I realized that I can take my experiences and shape them into my future.
Each coach and player I meet I try to learn a lesson from them. If there is something that I can take away from either listening to their strategy or watching them play then I am still an athlete. Some people may not think that it is worth practicing 2-3 hours a day, to get to game day and not get in, but I think otherwise. It is a chance for me to improve as a player and as a person. There will be many times in life that I question what I am doing, but if I take the time to think about it, I may realize there are much bigger opportunities waiting for me.





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