When you were younger, you played sports for fun. Most of the time, it was your parents who signed you up for activities such as sports to get you out of the house and out of their hair.
But it’s not your parents who got excited to step on the field every chance they got. Yes they were there to support you from the sideline and cheer you on, whether it be as a fan, or maybe even a coach as mine were.
But it wasn’t them out there playing. It was you.
As you get older the reasoning of playing for fun seems to be the last thing on everyone’s mind.
But that’s when we learn the lessons that sports have to teach you. That’s when you learn more about life than any classroom will ever be able to teach you. You learn a little about life and a lot about yourself, your teammates and your opponents.
This year ,sports allowed me the opportunity to not only reflect l about lessons that I’ve learned on my teams, but the opportunity to get a glimpse into other teams and players here at Mercy to see what they have learned as college athletes.
As a reporter, I had the opportunity to write in the sports section for our school newspaper The Impact here at Mercy College.
I was able to talk to men and women on the soccer team, the basketball teams, the lacrosse team, and the softball and baseball teams. Each one with a different story on how they got to where they are today. Each team different from the next. As I talked to each of them and listened to all their stories, I let myself learn about the lessons they learned. And to me, they all seemed somewhat similar.
I’ve learned many things from playing lacrosse and field hockey for a good 10 to 12 years of my life. In fact, I’ve played these spots a majority of my entire life. And there are some lessons that stood out to be the most important to me.
Life is forever changing. Much like a game. As it goes on, we learn to make adjustments to keep up in the game. You can’t accomplish anything standing still . You have to make choices and change directions quickly even if it’s not comfortable.
I’ve learned to recognize and be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the people around me. Whether or not it be my own teammates or my opponents, I learned how to work together with them to make the best possible outcome.
Time management! Something that took me a bit of adjusting. Being a student athlete you have to balance your time between classes and your sport. You’re a student before anything else. You learn what you have to do in order to maintain your GPA all while being successful on the field. And that sometimes means sacrifice, especially to your social life.
Sportsmanship and keeping a positive attitude will get your further than any other type of reaction. Keeping these two things no matter what aren’t always easy, especially if others around you are not. But always be the bigger person. You’re not responsible for how you feel, but you are responsible for how you act.
Tough losses taught me so much about being a good person in general. It taught me to be humble on the field. Would you want to be on that losing end of that basketball game that was 161-2? I don’t think anyone would. There’s no need to rub your success in someone’s face, because one day it might be you and you will not like other side.
I’ve learned the hard way that just because you may be the first person off the line does not mean that your going to be the one to come up with the ball. It normally goes to the person in the best possible position and it’s just something you have to accept quickly and work hard to get your opportunity. So is life. Sometimes the one who works the hardest doesn’t get the ball. Sometimes the person who deserves it, doesn’t get it. So where does that leave the athlete? He or she can complain about it. Sulk about it. Dwell on it. Or, he or she can realize that life isn’t fair sometimes as my dad would say. Sometimes the ball will not roll your way although you deserved it to. And that’s when the athlete in me knows that I have to get back on that line and fight for the next draw. Because life will give you wins and losses regardless.
At some point in time, you’re going to fall down. You may get injured or have health problems and need rest, or you may just lose your balance and fall. But you always have to get back up. You always have to get back on your feet and recover eventually.
Mistakes and failures are bound to happen at some point or another. It’s how you react to those that will define you. Whether it be after a tough loss, or even a turn over. You can either let yourself get down and suffer from it, or you can take it as a lesson, get back up and do not let it happen again.
Sometimes your plays are not going to go to plan. And your life will not either. But just because these simple little steps along the way don’t work out doesn’t mean that you won’t achieve the outcome. Sometimes you have to roll wit the punches and make not work for you.
Your roles on the team will not be the same as your teammates roles. I’m a defender. And even my role as a defender is different from the roles of my other defenders. But that doesn’t mean that I’m any less important or more important than any player out there on my team. And sometimes roles change. But you do what you can to the best of your abilities to make and impact.
Yet the two most important things sports taught me are these:
The bonds you make with your teammates and the journey you took to get there will be memories that last a lifetime. At the end of the day you won’t always remember the score that ended up on the board. You’ll remember the great memories you shared with a family that you made. Because when the season is over all you have are the memories.
And next is that time is precious. And no, not the same thing as time management. You only have a certain amount of time to play the game. There’s 60 mins in a game. And there’s 4 years of college sports. For each second when you step on that field you do not want to regret a single thing. Because time creeps up. And sometimes there is no next time. And when you look back all you can do is hope you did all that you could. So you don’t look back and wish you could’ve done sometime better something different.
Being a two sport athlete in college wasn’t easy. But I had great people surrounding me encouraging me and believing in me. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned within these past couple days and I know it’s cliche but at the end of the day it’s not about the score on the scoreboard or your stats in a game. Appreciate what you have around you now because a year from now everything will change and your going to want to be proud of who you were. I know I am.