My name is Gracie Kober and I played for BearLax/Tenacity 2017 Green. I am attending UC Berkeley in the fall of 2017, and this is how lacrosse has helped me get there.
The biggest lesson I have learned from lacrosse: it is so much more than just a game. I started playing lacrosse as a sassy third grader who wanted to play with the boys. Today I am going to UC Berkeley for academics and I owe so much of my success to the incredible game.
I grew up in a family centered around lacrosse. My father grew up playing lacrosse at Landon High School Maryland, which is currently ranked 3 in the country for men’s lacrosse. He always told stories about how he was the top scorer in the state and was featured in the town newspaper. He then attended Stanford University and continued to be a leader both on and off the lacrosse field. I was so inspired by my dad and I loved playing with him, hoping some of his talent would rub off on me and I would someday be that good. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would grow up playing lacrosse.
Although I am not playing at the Division 1 level in college, the lessons I have learned from lacrosse have helped me discover my identity as a leader with a confident voice and ambitious attitude. The lessons I have learned from the game have allowed me to take active leadership roles in robotics, band, community service, clubs, and more at my high school. I will continue to carry these lessons with me as I begin the journey through college.
Lesson 1: respect for the game
For me, playing lacrosse for so long has allowed me to develop a respect and a devotion for the game that has given me so much. Often times, people’s first reaction when I say I play lacrosse is, “Do you get to hit people?” Yes, it is a physical sport. But the dedicated players who have appreciation know that the way to play the game is based on skill, technique, and practice. The game is not about who can hit the hardest, it’s not about who is the fastest. It is about who had the passion, the drive, and the respect for the game to understand how to succeed on the field. Tenacity helped me learn this respect, and the club’s work continues to inspire people every day to develop the same respect.
Lesson 2: working hard does pay off
One of the hardest aspects of being an athlete is the work outside of practice and games. I used to consider each Tenacity practice as a check-in on my progress. I would work each week at the gym, doing stick skills, eating a balanced diet, and I would evaluate my strengths and weaknesses at each practice. What Tenacity taught me the most, however, is that it also takes hard work mentally. The concept of “mental toughness” has helped me push through obstacles in lacrosse and in my personal life, where I use visualization techniques and mental strengthening to improve my attitude. Mental hard work is the most important aspect to improving, and it has pushed me to make the most of every opportunity.
Lesson 3: how to be a team player
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that there is absolutely no room for selfishness on that field. A team can only be strong as a team, rather than a group of individuals. This is why the teams who work together, on and off the field, are the most successful. This lesson has been the most impactful in my life because it has taught me how to find balance in my life outside of lacrosse. I have held many high school leadership positions, and this has taught me how to be an effective leader by understanding the importance of every single member of the club or team I am leading. The strength of a dedicated and unified team is so much greater than that of a single person, and I have used that mindset to find success in my life.