It is almost time to hang up the stick and say a final goodbye to the game of field hockey after 12 years. It felt like just yesterday my mom put a stick in my hands for the first time and signed me up for the fifth-grade team. I was simply a kid who was playing for fun. Now I am 21, and the sport has become a part of my identity. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve spent over half of your life invested in the same sport.
There is no doubt that senior year is hard for everyone, no matter what you did or didn’t participate in during your time in college. But for me, it’s not just the end of college field hockey, it’s the end of a very long chapter in my life.
Field hockey has seen me through the most challenging times in my life and it has always been an escape when life gets hard. It taught me everything I know about being a competitor, a friend, a teammate and a leader.
On the hardest days, it humbled and motivated me to remember that there are girls who would give so much to be in my shoes or have the opportunity I was given. On the best days, it reminded me that being a competitive athlete has been the most rewarding experience of my life.
When I look back, I’ll remember the parts of me that came alive on the field, the part of me that needed the same pre-game rituals and covering myself in glitter in the locker room for good luck, the part of me that hated run tests and preseasons but would do it all again to play another season. I’ll remember the bruises that lasted for weeks, the bus rides with only one specific playlist I would listen to and all the laughs with my teammates.
As for college field hockey, I will never forget being a part of a team that shattered Ramapo records and the feeling of holding the ECAC championship trophy my junior year. I’ll always look back on my Senior Day, which happened just a few weeks ago, and cherish how much love I was surrounded by with friends and family celebrating my accomplishments throughout this entire journey.
As for high school and middle school field hockey, I learned that the relationships you make are what truly matter in the end. In 10 years, no one is going to care what the record of the field hockey team was, but I know I’ll still have the love and support of the people I shared the field with, no matter how far apart we may be.
It will always be difficult to make others understand how much the sport has meant to me, but it will always have a huge place in my heart, and I am eternally grateful for everything field hockey has given me. No matter how this last week of the postseason ends, either with smiles or tears, life will move on. It is now time to make a life away from the sport I’ve always loved and venture to new horizons.
Photo by Tori Waschek.