I’m the youngest of 4 girls and was thrown into team sports early. My Dad and Uncle coached my first YMCA basketball team. I was only 4 years old.
My Dad LOVED sports and it was how we connected. I remember falling asleep on the couch on Sunday afternoons watching golf together and televised college basketball games being the background noise of my childhood. Steve Wojciechowski, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and the list goes on. We fell in love with the Blue Devils together watching games and that was all the recruitment I needed to end up at Duke for lacrosse.
My Dad was my biggest fan. He always believed in me, always thought I was better than I actually was, and always wanted my best. He drove me all over the east coast to compete and he never missed a game.
Until his cancer got in the way my senior year of college. I’m not sure if that was harder for me or harder for him.
Playing for Duke was a dream largely birthed from time with my Dad. I faced injuries all along the way and we lost in the final four two times, but being on that team was an amazing gift. We had highly skilled players, an intense hunger to win and a real love for each other. When you give so much of yourself to something and get so close to achieving your goal, it hurts. It hurts bad.
I have always loved competing and especially competing on a team. Training together, pushing each other, encouraging one another, drawing on each other’s strengths, cheering, celebrating, winning and losing. I love it all. I love the feeling of fully expending yourself and being exhausted in the end.
I miss lacrosse, I miss being on a team, and I miss my Dad. Of all the things we did together, I think I loved our time in the backyard most. He had his baseball glove and I had my lacrosse stick and we would toss for what seemed like forever.