From a purely quantitative standpoint, my college career can be summed up in three numbers- 26-27-15.
How does the meaning of the word “change” and those three numbers (that indicate my overall record as a Fairfield Stag) relate to each other? They don’t; and therein lies the problem.
As a competitive athlete, it’s a difficult thing to realize that you have spent your entire collegiate career being average. That your contributions have led to zero playoff wins, zero championships, and no winning seasons. It’s difficult to think that you’ve let down the people that believed in you. It’s difficult to believe that you’ve never reached your potential.
Every year you say it’s going to be different. You enter every preseason prepared, confident, and motivated. You start off okay. You may win a few games. You may have some good performances….But then you lose. Then your performances start to level off. You get down on yourself. You start losing more games. You start playing worse. Things begin to fall apart and before you even realize it, more than half the season is gone and you’re wondering how you let everything go so downhill. If you’re lucky enough to get a playoff spot at this point, you swear you’ll make the most of it. You promise that you won’t let another season end in failure. But then just like that, you’re sitting on a bus ride home, wishing more than anything you could go back to that moment in the season when you could have turned it all around. That moment, that game, that performance, that negative mindset that you could have used to say, “enough is enough” and CHANGED the outcome of your season.
I look back at all the reasons why I feel we have fallen short these past few years and I realize that when it comes down to it - we just haven’t collectively, as a team, given enough. We haven’t worked hard enough. We haven’t pushed each other enough. We haven’t demanded enough from each other. We haven’t wanted it enough. There’s a saying that goes, “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are,” and I couldn’t agree more with that. This season, our record, our performances, our fate, isn’t going to turn around by itself. We aren’t going to win a championship by just wanting to win games. We need to work and push and change and progress so that we are able to couple our desire to win with actually deserving to win and ultimately earn what we want: a MAAC championship, NCAA tournament wins, and a history-making season.
I look back at all the confidence I had in my last blog and I think about all the goals and aspirations I had for our team this season and I realize something: They are still there. Was a 3-3-2 record heading into conference play how I had originally planned for our season to start out? No. Am I happy with my personal performance in those 8 games so far? Absolutely not. Do I expect more from my teammates and from myself moving forward? Yes. But all stories have turning points and all seasons have defining moments and the direction those points and moments lead us to are 100% in our control. In seasons past, we have watched these moments pass us by and we have decided to stay average; to just go through the motions of the season and let opportunities for positive change fall by the wayside. That cannot and will not happen this year.
I love my team, I love my coaches, I love my school, and I love this game. If I can do anything this season, I hope that above all-else, I can prove all of those things. Every day that I am surrounded by my talented teammates and dedicated coaches I realize that I can’t help but be optimistic for our future this season; that it’s not too late. We may be nearing our halfway point in the season, but I believe we haven’t even gotten started in showing the country what we’re capable of. We are down but far from out. We are rising toward a new and different fate than the past few years and I can’t wait to work toward the start of it all this coming weekend.
I look forward to checking back in with you all after we begin conference play this weekend at Rider University and Loyola University.
Breathe. Battle. Believe.