After every sport season, I have always looked back on what my team accomplished, what was left to accomplish and what we need to do to accomplish it. Just like every other athlete, I worked every day to get better, to get to that next level.
Playing high school sports involves learning and growing as a player and as a person. You must be strong, both mentally and physically, and accept that at times, you will fail. What matters most is what you do after that failure. It is never easy picking yourself up after a tough loss, but we aren’t athletes because it’s easy. We play because we love the game, and if you love something badly enough, you have to be willing to work at it.
My parents instilled this work ethic in me from an early age, and it is something I have always tried to share with my teammates. As team captain in soccer and basketball, I tried to lead by example and encourage the team to work through failure. It was difficult at times, but together I think we learned about the power of perseverance. Whether we were working together to perfect a play or we were working together to clean up the locker room, we survived, and more importantly, had a little bit of fun.
Some of my greatest memories come from fighting through the grueling soccer two-a-days, early morning basketball practices, and four and a half hour softball practices. Though they were exhausting, they are actually my favorite memories of my teammates. The pain certainly brought us closer and, through it, I met some of my best friends. The experiences and challenges that we faced together created a bond I’m sure will last forever.
Success can be defined in different ways. For some, success is the number of wins and losses recorded or even personal statistics. By that measure, I was a member of some successful and some not so successful teams throughout my four years.
My measure of success is a bit different, however. Through sports, I have met some amazing people, pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable, learned from mistakes, became a better leader, and became a better person; and by that measure, I think my four years as a student-athlete at Lafayette Jeff have been a great success.