By Kari Buonanno
In a year that has been anything but normal, one thing we were committed to was keeping Tenacity constant and reliable for all of our players and their families. Although difficult to think about, we ask you to consider where you were when the world slowed down back in March? Where were you when your season was cancelled or when you were sent home from school? Where were you when you said goodbye to your friends, teammates, coworkers, or peers and began to quarantine? Who were you with and what were you feeling?
We ask you to think about these things not to remind you of what may have been a painful or sad time, but to allow you to think about all that has changed in the world around you and possibly within yourself during the last 8 months. Before this pandemic, it was always clear that Tenacity girls were so much more than lacrosse players. We know this and yet still– the loss of the lacrosse season last spring was presumably heartbreaking for every Tenacity girl. Lacrosse for our players might not be the whole story, but it’s definitely a big part of it. Being a strong, tenacious woman in the sport of lacrosse is a part of all Tenacity girl’s identities. That’s why they show up. That’s why they put in extra work on their own time. That’s why they learn how to be better leaders and teammates. And that’s why they put on that Tenacity jersey at every opportunity they can–because lacrosse is part of who they are. While high school seasons may have taken a back seat last spring for the safety and well-being of others, Tenacity as a program did not. Although continuing in a remote platform, the relentless pursuit of better was unwavering.
Like everyone, Tenacity girls had to step back and look at this identity shift not as a bad thing or even as permanent, but to realize how grateful they were for Tenacity and for the sport of lacrosse. The pandemic and the shutdown has served as a really powerful reminder that Tenacity girls are more than their sport. It doesn’t define them, yet they can be grateful for the place it holds in their lives. While this shutdown definitely changed things, Tenacity was able to uphold it’s standards of excellence all the while. Supporting girls in Utah, Oregon, and California; zoom was already a common practice, while the rest of the world was just getting introduced. For this reason, Tenacity had a leg up on so many other teams and organizations to maintain a competitive training program and support system for it’s players.
So how exactly did Tenacity stay relevant and keep innovating? For starters, we had to get creative and as an organization we definitely pivoted in several ways. Tirzah and Zoe Rivera and Grace Swedko would all agree. Tenacity implemented online bootcamps, leadership training, and virtual run testing. Zoe recalled that the minicamps were really fun and a great way to “still interact with people but do it safely.” In a time that felt very isolating for so many, Tenacity training programs despite being virtual, were uplifting and uniting. Tirzah, as well as her sister, loved the Tenacity sessions that extended beyond lacrosse. She made it clear that the skills she was learning in these programs would serve her far past her days competing on a lacrosse field. Tirzah specifically appreciated sessions focused on public speaking. While Tenacity coaches implemented this training to better the girls as people–it served a dual purpose. The public speaking scenarios simulated pressure situations that the girls would no doubt encounter when they returned to the field again. That’s what made the experience unique. Just like Tirzah and Zoe, Grace appreciated Tenacity tremendously through the peak of quarantine, recalling that she was able to get her mind off the pandemic with the help of the online programs. Most specifically she loved how she was still able to compete, despite not being able to for her high school, in programs and virtual run tests. So through it all, Tenacity was always there.
As women go through different stages in life, we are always redefining ourselves as athletes, friends, and people. This evolution and growth can be pretty amazing to experience and to witness in others. Tenacity was able to foster this growth and learning for its players throughout quarantine and will continue to. Tenacity was able to innovate and remain a constant for so many players. While we had to change and adjust for the health and safety of our community, our goals and priorities did not. Building Strong Tenacious Women is still the priority. That did not change.