“Passion first and everything will fall into place.”
As my career ended a few weeks ago, I can’t help but to reflect on the 12 years of my life that have revolved around this sport. I was introduced to the sport from a mini camp that my high school always holds. My dad told me he signed me up for field hockey camp and I immediately thought, “Ew - what is field hockey, I want to go to soccer camp.” Little did I know that years from then I would become a division one field hockey player for a top 20 team.
It all began freshman year when I was injured on the third day of preseason. The following year I sat the bench. I was challenged with the two most devastating things an athlete can experience. I knew that this wasn’t the college field hockey experience I deserved and I knew I would have so many regrets if I didn’t do anything to change it. The summer before my junior year I put in work – to get faster, stronger, quicken my stick skills, and understand the game better. That year I became a key player in our defensive line. My time had come and I was finally given the opportunity to show that I can compete with anyone. For the next three years, including one as a redshirt senior, I started and played almost every minute of every game.
My journey was not easy, it was far from simple, and in many ways it wasn’t ideal. I have been exposed to situations that have challenged me and taught me a lot about myself. I truly believe that my unique experience has taught me more than if it was all just a breeze. I’ve learned what it truly means to persevere, stand up for what is right, and simply play for the love of the game. When I look back on the past 5 years, I realize there was really only one constant – how much I love to compete. It is what motivated me through those hard times and it is what made the good times so much sweeter. As I sat at my brother’s football game recently and listened to the national anthem, I couldn’t help but realize that I will never again, as a player, experience those game day feels. I will never put on my uniform, lace up my turf shoes, and feel the stick in my hand right before the whistle blows to start the game. If BU has given me anything, it was the opportunity to play and compete, and for that I am so grateful.
To those aspiring to be college athletes – even if it doesn’t start out how you planned; keep grinding. You can always put in more work and you can always improve, so control the controllable and things will fall into place as they are meant to. Embrace and enjoy the grind, because one day it will be over and you will feel as though a piece of you will always be missing. My greatest piece of advice: thank your parents and support system all along the way, because when your career is over you won’t be able to find words to express how grateful you are.
As for my future – My only hope is that my grandma continues to tell me I’m the best field hockey player in the country.