People have been telling me for as long as I can remember to cherish my time here in college. They say that soon enough I will be in the “real world” and these years go by all too quickly. It’s hard to comprehend this when I am so young and caught up in my day-to-day struggles. Right now, my season and career can go one of two ways. I just got back from my injury and things aren’t exactly going as I had hoped. Our team is on a three game losing streak and I am not playing. At the start I just wanted to get back out there and this excitement and eagerness to play was enough to keep me focused and motivated. However, after over a month of working as hard as I can not only in practice, but working out on my own as well, it is frustrating to see how little I have improved. I feel like I will never get my chance in a game and this is disheartening. It would be so easy to become complacent with my position on this team with where I stand right now. I have the excuse that I am still coming back form my injury and that it takes time, but I am so sick of this excuse. I want to get my starting spot back and actually get an opportunity to help my team win from ON the field, rather than the bench. This weekend and week in practice only intensified this desire and I refuse to let my team and myself fall into a pattern of disappointment and contentment.
With conference games starting and a record not exactly one I’d consider ideal, as a junior on the team I’ve started to understand that time moves all too fast. Last I knew it was a week before preseason freshman year and I was nervous beyond belief. Now these practices, team bonding, and trips are beyond familiar. It’s never a great feeling walking away from a weekend with no wins under your belt, nor does it feel good to watch your teammates walk off the field disappointed and frustrated.
I have to ask myself; why do we fall? Is it simply so we can learn to pick ourselves up? A loss either overcomes us or lights a fire within us to strive for something better. Our coaches have said this in too many ways game after game this season. It’s beginning to feel a little too repetitive and this certainly wasn’t where I pictured our team to be sitting. After our performances this weekend, I’m not disappointed in our team. The fault is simply that this business is just a game of numbers. It doesn’t matter that we scored on #2 ranked UCLA or that we are holding these nationally ranked schools to just one goal losses. When it comes to being selected for the NCAA tournament, they won’t watch our game tape; they look up to see if we won or lost. Right now, those results don’t shine the best light on our team.
I’ve done the math and I don’t even have two years left of playing. I have thirteen months until everything I sacrificed since I was five will mean nothing. Every dance, sleepover, party, wedding, track meet, prom or vacation I missed will have been for nothing unless I make it mean something now. I realized as a senior in high school that time flew by, now it’s a little too scary to think about. If it were up to me, I’d still be in Emerson dorm, third floor, room 333. To be honest, I’d actually want to be eight years old on the co-ed town team running in circles having the time of my life. I can only hope that in these last two seasons here at UMass, my teammates and myself make everything count and cherish every moment we have left.