Our first game was away, introducing me, and my fellow freshmen, to the art of traveling by bus. I now know to make sure my iPod is fully charged because it can get really boring when it dies halfway through the 3 hour ride. It is also good to know that there is wifi on the bus, connecting us all to the internet and thankfully when school starts, allowing us to do some course-work. Something completely new to me is the luxury of always having a locker room before and after a game. I got a taste of this in my high school basketball days, but never to this extent. Perhaps most importantly it means that we can shower and change before we get back on the bus, something I think everyone (but especially the coaches) is grateful for.
For me personally, this game wasn't just my first college match, but also my first start. I’ve always been told to worry less about who starts and more about who finishes a game, and that makes sense, but there is always something really exciting about hearing your name announced and running that gauntlet of players onto the field. It is even more exhilarating to be standing in the middle of the field, holding your teammates hands, and listening to the national anthem. I was of course anxious and nervous, but I tried to remember that it was just another match. I thought about what I'd be doing if I wasn’t about to actually play in my first college game. And I realized that I honestly couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be.
There are so many advantages to being an athlete and having the opportunity to be here a month before classes even begin. It's crazy to think that we have already played our first game and that we will have played 3 more before school starts. The first weeks of missing home, family and friends are basically over. I'm getting used to dorm life and I have a decent understanding of a very large and sometimes intimidating campus. My older teammates have shared some tips that will make the first weeks of classes easier. That is a monster sized help!! Without soccer, I would be just preparing to leave like the rest of my freshman friends and I would be pretty clueless about what I was doing – and what to expect. Instead, I'm already comfortable with my new life and see myself as a kind of quasi-upperclassman. At least compared to my confused and overwhelmed classmates that will be here next week!