I became part of the BearLax family in 2009, and since then, I have learned a number of applicable life lessons that have been carried with me throughout high school and college, into my job today. One of the lessons BearLax instilled in me has stuck out more so in the past few years: focus in and follow through. To me this means that no matter what the task ahead may be, never give up and keep striving to achieve all that I set out to achieve. Throughout life, obstacles and challenges have been thrown in my path that have made it difficult to completing my goals, but it is about adapting to diversity and overcoming hardships that defines a person.
After competing for BearLax for four years, I attended Saint Mary’s College of California to play Division I lacrosse. Playing in college was not without its challenges, but I was passionate about what I was doing and I was determined to compete at the highest level while giving it my all, focusing in on my goal and following through. Going into college, I had had the same coach for four years and I had played with the same group of girls for four years; both on my BearLax travel team and my high school team. I was accustomed to having consistency as I played and I became comfortable with that consistency. However, as I journeyed through my four years at Saint Mary’s College of California, I came to understand that my new lacrosse world was anything but consistent.
Going into my senior year, I was unsure of who my coach would be, but I knew that it would be my third coach in four years. I was recruited by one coach who left after my freshmen year and had different head coach my sophomore and junior year, who left a week before my senior season started. Nothing about the program had stayed the same throughout my four years, and my team and I were constantly dealing with setbacks and major adjustments. We had no consistency within our program, nor did we have any support. It would have been easy for us to stop dedicating all of our time and energy into a program and an athletic department that failed to support us. However, I set out to compete for four years as a Division I athlete and was not going to give up. Rather than letting coaching adjustments hold me back, I focused in on what I wanted to achieve and strived to make my senior season the best one yet.
That was easier said than done, as our program was cut three weeks before the end of our season. Out of the blue, our athletic department informed us that it was in the best interest of the student athletes and our lacrosse team to become a club program. We still had games to play at this point, yet a decision was made on our behalf and we were not given a say. We could have stopped there and given up, and I am sure others would not have blamed us. We had worked hard to succeed for so long, only to be told that it was not good enough. But once again, I set out to play four years of Division I lacrosse and I was not going to let others dictate how I went out. Our team played three more games and made a statement each time we set out on the field, putting a smile on our faces and making the most of the time we had left as a team and as a program.
Three coaches in four years only to have my program cut weeks before I finished my college career was anything but ideal. However, throughout each of these setbacks, I drew upon the lessons I learned during BearLax and did not give up. Focusing in on my goal and following through with that goal is not as easy as it seems, especially when those around me are determined to make it nearly impossible. But I would not have traded the experience for anything. Looking back at all that I endured over the past four years, I am proud to say that I focused in on the goal I had set out to achieve and I followed through despite the obstacles and set backs thrown my way.