When I was in 9th grade, I was whacked in the head by a guy with a stick. I joined the lacrosse team in 8th grade, and didn’t get any serious game time until my fifth year on the team. I never had the most goals or assists. It was my 3rd year on the team until I learned how to cradle or poke check. Why after struggling for 4 years did I stay with it? This is because I love lacrosse. I believe that playing for the right reasons enables me to see into the thrill of doing something that I love. After feeling the sharp pain on my head from the guy with the stick, I thought I would never like lacrosse again. But as I laid on my back, and the ringing in my ear faded, I understood that this hit was a part of our struggle in our everyday lives, keeping us from doing something that we are passionate about.
I’ll never forget how every Saturday morning the team would climb over the fence into school, pick the lock into the men’s locker-room, put on our gear, and scrimmage until it got dark. My friends and I never played for ourselves; we played to have fun. Only one out of 40 of my lacrosse friends is playing at a Division 1 school, and there are about “57 division 1 colleges […] that offer lacrosse scholarships for men.”
I’ll never forget beating Pinecrest in the District Championship my senior year. We had never done it before. We were down 5 to nothing at the half. When we got in the locker-room at halftime, all the seniors decided to talk about how this should be our most enjoyable last game, since we knew we weren’t playing at the collegiate level. I remember I went back out there, scored my first goal for that game, and I celebrated by taking off my helmet and somersaulting towards our sideline. Even though I received a penalty, I recalled how many laughs I received from my teammates. We won that game 13 to 6. They were probably a better team, but their players were all stressed about what their coach might say if they missed a pass or kept the stick on a terrible angle when shooting. On the other hand, Coach Penengo would try to give us motivational speeches, even though his vocabulary choice was not suitable for the average teenager. Although my coach might sound as if he was treated as a joke, he was given much more respect than any of the other coaches.
Coach Penengo was out of his mind. He wouldn’t use pads when performing hitting drills against the Defenseman in practice and would start fights with the referees if they made a terrible call during a game. Even though he may not be the typical role model that the parents thought he was, Coach Penengo’s antics made me love the game that much more.
I’ll never forget running down the field with my teammates, worrying about whether we might receive a blind-side layout or a winded-up slash with the stick. I’ll never forget how cool I felt having the firm rubber balls in my cleats every time I sprinted on the field. Most importantly, I’ll never forget the camaraderie I had with my teammates even though I thought I would hate lacrosse when I started it.
I believe that these difficulties that we go through will ultimately help us achieve the whole process of being successful in life. Thinking about the great times I had in lacrosse always cheers me up when I am stressed. You should always do something that you love, even if it means getting whacked in the side of the head with a stick.
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