An Open Letter To The Senior Athlete Starting Her Last Spring Sports Season

An Open Letter To The Senior Athlete Starting Her Last Spring Sports Season

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

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It's never easy to say goodbye, and one of the hardest things to let go of after high school was varsity sports, and for me the sport I loved most was lacrosse. I played when my school was first introducing lacrosse to the district, from seventh grade until my final senior season. It was some of the best times I ever had in high school, and I had so many amazing teammates to share it with. But this letter isn't for me. This goes out to any high school senior with a similar story, about to enter your last season in those uniforms, with those teammates, playing the sport you love. Make sure you don't forget to look around and cherish it.

As a senior, you might be ready to move on to college and leave high school behind, but once it's over I guarantee you'll miss at least some of it. Make sure you don't get too caught up in winning and championships and simply enjoy the time you have with your team. I look back on those long bus rides to away games when the whole team would laugh and talk and my coach would call us out for not being focused. Those times with my teammates were unbeatable, and I'd give anything to feel that type of bond with my team again. We suffered many losses, but we supported each other through it all and always came out with smiles on our faces. In your last sports season, the best thing to do is cherish these bonds and make sure you never take them for granted.

For any senior who knows they won't be going on to play division or club sports in college, this could be the last time you have that type of close team relationship. Not to mention the last feelings of excitement on game day, the satisfaction of seeing familiar faces in the crowd at your home turf, and the accomplishment of getting through a hard day's practice with some of your best friends. Hold onto each and every one of those feelings.

It definitely gets hard at times with everything you have going on your senior year, from getting ready for school or a job after graduation to making memories with your friends. Let's not forget all the homework and final projects coming up at the end of the school year. When you look back on high school you'll want to be sure that you put all you could into your last sports season, and gotten everything you could out of it.

On those off days when the last thing you want to do is practice or play through a game, remind yourself of how important this sport and your team is to you, push through it, and take every positive away from it that you can. It won't be long until you're playing your last game and saying goodbye to the team and the sport you love so much. Thank your coaches for all they do, hug your teammates after every game and play as hard as you possibly can. If you don't, you'll wish you had.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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11 Things We Wish We Would've Done Before We Left High School

Before you know it high school is over, and sometimes you can't help but think about what you missed along the way.

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Most of us remember high school as the SATs, trying desperately to find a date to the prom, and (finally) graduating next to all your best friends. Although we spent our time there wishing we were out, once it's over some of us are left thinking about what we could've done. So, I asked some college students: what were some of the biggest things you wish you would have done in high school?

1. Try out or stay on a sports team.

"Some sports! Actually would've liked to be part of a team or have been more active in clubs"

-Eunice Woo, freshman Public Health Biology major

"Stayed in a sport"

-Peter Erikson, sophomore Video Game Design major

2. Talked to different people outside of normal friend groups

"I wish I talked to more people from my grade. We're all really friendly with each other now, but in high school, we were super cliquey even if we weren't trying to be"

-Jacqui Napier, sophomore Early Childhood Education major

"I went to a small private school. I wish I'd been kinder to the people everyone else ignored, the people who sat by themselves at lunch. I wish I'd tried better to reach out to them"

-Netanya B, sophomore English Literature major

3. Strayed from trouble

"I wish I had stayed out of trouble. I had some really close calls that could have ruined my life"

-Anonymous, senior Nutrition major

4. Been more confident about our self-image

"I wish I hadn't worried so much about how much I weighed. I wish I hadn't restricted myself from certain foods and wish I hadn't convinced myself that I was worthless because I was 'overweight' according to society. It kept me from being involved with events in school and being social because I was embarrassed of how I looked"

-Emma P, sophomore English major

5. Been more confident in general

"Been more outspoken and less shy"

-Ashlyn Bushey, sophomore Music Education major

6. Jumped into clubs earlier

"Gotten involved in theater earlier. I always regret jumping in in my junior year"

-Erin Mecchi, sophomore Early Grades Education major

7. Gone to more high school events

"I wish I would've done all the stereotypical high school things. Dances, football games, pep rallies, etc."

-Alex Nalevanko, freshman Marketing major

8. Tried out for new opportunities, no matter how much they scare us

"I wish that I was in the musical/plays in high school. I was so shy… I froze and had no voice when I tried out"

-Anonymous, former Communications major

9. Stepped outside the library more often

"Do more fun things! I was always studying so I almost never did anything social or fun!"

-Hally Everett, sophomore Nursing major

10. Spent more time dating ourselves instead of other people

"Stayed single"

-Abigail Hadfield, sophomore Creative Writing major

11. Gotten to know more of their teachers as well as students

"I wish I had gotten to know my teachers more personally, and I wish I cared less about social status so I could have made friends with more kinds of students"

-JV Saddic, junior Computer Science major

In the end, you can't go back to high school. For all current students, whether you're in high school or college, try to experience what you can while you're there. Go out for clubs that you might not like, reach out to people you're scared to talk to, and embrace yourself for who you are in the moment, because before you know it, this stage of your life will already be done.

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