Editor’s note: The following is a letter written by a high school lacrosse senior who’s preparing to make the jump to NCAA Division 1. A highly touted recruit from the Western region, she provides us with some first-hand insight on what it feels to be gearing up for the next level.
The point of this piece is to give you an insider’s look at the transition from a player’s perspective and what kind of determination it takes to get to the next level. What better way to learn about the process than to hear it through the player’s mouth?
As senior year has come to close, I can reflect back on my years of playing high school sports and think how playing the game has taught me so many lessons. Now I’ve made plenty of memories, and developed long lasting friendships, but nothing compares to the education in life I have received on the field.
I’ve experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Each extreme taught me a valuable lesson in hard work, determination, and team camaraderie. In my years of competition I have been on losing teams and winning teams, I’ve been the underdog and the powerhouse, I’ve rode the bench and been the leading scorer; this variety of situations, I believe, has been necessary for me to grow and become the athlete and competitor I am.
There’s a stigma with high school sports, they can be over-the-top and intense with high expectations or they can just be…well…there, you know just an extracurricular activity you would do like fishing or scrapbooking. Certainly at the varsity level, a level of commitment and dedication is necessary, how I think it should be more than that. In my mind, the sport I am playing is my number one priority, I am one-hundred percent committed to what ever my coaches and teammates expect. Unfortunately, I have had to deal with people lacking in that area.
You know the flowery, enabling coach whose practice lacks structure and game plan is virtually nonexistent, or the teammate who makes the choice to party the night before a big game. Situations like this made me so frustrated throughout high school. I’m obsessed with growing in knowledge of the sport, developing strategies to outwit your opponents, and relentlessly preparing for an important game….maybe you think I’m the one that’s over-the-top, but that’s my expectation, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask.
I plan to finish out my high school lacrosse career on a positive note, and then preparing all summer for the next level. I cannot wait to live and breath lacrosse, I believe it is because I have so much to learn about the sport. I’m a West Coast girl; I grew up with a basketball in my hands, not a lacrosse stick. I think that’s part of the reason I chose lacrosse to pursue at the college level, I hadn’t exhausted the skills and drills like I had on the hardwood. Now Division 1 has a stigma too, and I didn’t choose the school for the name or the lacrosse program, I chose it because it had what I was looking for in my future.
The whole lacrosse thing worked out, and I am very pleased and grateful it did. You think D1, you think those East Coast all stars that got full rides to top ranked Northwestern and Maryland, not really the case for me, and that’s just fine! I am just as nervous, ready, and apprehensive as I need to be. And one thing is for sure, the girl’s on that team will be just like me, 100% committed, over-the-top, and completely in love with the game.
That’s it, LaxNation. That’s my story. Until next time, take care!