The Best Season of My Life — Alexandra Hilliard

I haven’t discussed lacrosse too much here, but I figured I would tell you all about our season. As it ended today.

This season has been the best athletic season of my life. I did not participate in athletics during junior high school, and in high school I competed for three spring track, 2 winter track, 1 soccer, 1 field hockey, and 1 wrestling season. I know that sounds like a lot, but over four years, and with three seasons, it’s not out of the ordinary. My favorite sport to participate in high school was track and field. In my sophomore year, I joined the team, and was amongst the ranks of some of the best athletes my school had ever seen. There were quite a few of my teammates who got full scholarships to division I schools, due to their athletic prowess (and grades, of course). Track was big, we didn’t have that many fans coming to our games, but we were highly respected amongst other athletes, and among our peers in general. My sophomore year was my best year, I made many great friends who were mostly upper-classmen. Abasi-Odu, a friend from Nigeria, and I, as sophomores, would stand tall and tough to the juniors and seniors, who “ran” the team. We made them laugh with our bravery, and they made us feel like champions. As sophomores, Abby and I knew what was at stake when it came to our competitions, we had to win against all of the other athletes we faced, not only to help our team win, but to make our older friends proud. It turn, they brought us to all of the fun house parties on the weekends. Believe it or not, it wasn’t really cool amongst many of the people I knew in high school, to go to parties and drink. We would go to parties in dangerous neighborhoods, packed wall to wall with sweaty friends and strangers, and dance all night to the hottest reggae, reggaeton, and hip-hop hits. These parties were full of seniors, some juniors, and many of the recently graduated students who had not yet gone off to college. I felt so cool to have even been invited at all. But I digress… My point being, was that I was mentored by older students who engaged in real fun… We went to clubs and parties to dance, went to the movies, hung out at eachother’s houses, and had safe fun. During track, we were all business… As I sophomore, I always respected the upper-classmen and made sure to give practices 110% of my effort. Despite the amount of fun we had, and the number of meets we conquered… there was an element of stress that was never overcome. There were always other teammates who were too bossy, too forceful, undermined your talents, and made you feel small… The coaches were sometimes mean, and you felt judged if you didn’t win. If your individual event was not successful, you could surely believe that if the team did not win the meet, that resentful eyes would be glaring at the back of your head on the bus ride home.

This season, was different. I didn’t feel like that, ever, and I will tell you why. As I’ve mentioned, I only played lacrosse for one season, two years ago, and only scored one goal. I didn’t really know much about the sport and wasn’t very good at all. When I came to play this year, I was hesitant. The prior year was uncomfortable, I felt that as a newcomer, I wasn’t respected amongst my fellow athletes. This year was different. Our team of 15 is made up of 8 seniors including myself and Lara who will be graduating in December. Five of our players were brand new to the sport, some had never even seen a lacrosse game. We quickly attempted to assemble in the beginning of the season, but our inexperience always seemed to overcome our fervor and passion for the game. We all tried our darndest, but had a 2-10 record (yikes!). I have included a picture, which includes #10 Natasha who ended up being unable to play due to other commitments, and does not include Kimberly Blank #3, or our awesome assistant coach Katya.  

What made our team so great was the amount of fun that we had. Outside of practices we often ate meals together in the dining hall or the buttery, and we also had team dinners. I ended up becoming friends with people that I never thought I would get to know, because we all are part of very different social circles. We had fun joking around before and after practice, and we always were silly when we could take a break from working hard in practice. Everyone seemed to really get along, and I never felt anything but loved by my teammates. Criticisms were always constructive and offered important instructions for becoming a better player. We treated eachother with respect and kindness. So cheers to the team… Even though we lost, quite a bit, it was a real treat to get to spend such time with you all.

If you are interested in checking out photos from our game, or anything else, please check out http://athletics.greenmtn.edu/sports/wlax/index

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