I by no means noticed myself at Saint Louis College. My dream was by no means to be a Billiken. In actual fact, after I first began enjoying, I ranked each faculty subject hockey group. SLU was within the backside p.c of the record. However, issues occur. Life would not go as deliberate and typically, you need to take the most effective give you get. In March of my senior yr of highschool, that provide was from SLU. By the tip of that month, I used to be a Billiken. I did my unofficial go to, official go to, and signed to the group inside three weeks. It was a whirlwind.
As a freshman, I used to be past excited to be right here. My desires of enjoying Division I subject hockey have been virtually dashed, however SLU had taken me on. I knew I wanted to not solely show myself however make my profession depend. At that time, the 40 minute drive to apply, the naked bones employees, the minimalist locker room did not hassle me. I knew I simply wanted to be grateful. The phrase, “You do not belong right here,” rang loud in my head. I used to be in no place to speak.
In a short time, nevertheless, I noticed that issues I believed I used to be simply being choosy about simply did not occur elsewhere. Once you confront your administration on the struggles of being off campus, your group administrator would not sit you down and provide you with an hour lengthy speech about gratitude. Once you get house from apply, you do not have to attend till the subsequent day to go to the coaching room, both for damage or sickness. Once you go to apply, you do not have to cross your fingers for an athletic coach that you already know, and even one who will introduce themselves to you. You do not have to spend your time in faculty athletics making an attempt to persuade somebody that you simply and your group are value spending cash on. Positive, not each facility goes to be cutting-edge. Not each locker room goes to have your image above your locker. Not each teaching employees goes to be 5 coaches deep. However that wasn’t what really upset me. What upset me was that every time I challenged any a part of my profession, I used to be informed I wasn’t being grateful. Ironic, contemplating for many of my profession, I laid my head down at evening and thanked God for giving me the chance to do one thing I had solely dreamed of after I was fourteen.
I’ve liked being a Billiken regardless of all these issues. I liked attending to journey the nation with anyplace from 18 to 22 of my greatest pals. I liked attending to get up day-after-day and do the factor I liked most. I liked attending to carry weights in Chaifetz. I liked how I felt after a tough conditioning session. I liked how I felt the day after preseason ended. I liked how I felt each time the group stood collectively earlier than a recreation and sang the nationwide anthem. I liked each a part of it. I’ll cherish the recollections I made in a Billiken uniform for years. I’m proud to be a Billiken. However I additionally know that each athletic division has its faults.
As proud as I’m and was to be on the group right here, it by no means ceased to shatter my coronary heart after I informed somebody I performed subject hockey for the college they usually responded, “Oh, I did not know we had a group!” . To which I, and lots of of my teammates have been compelled to reply, “Properly, that is in all probability as a result of we do not have a subject on campus”. In Missouri, loads of individuals have by no means seen subject hockey earlier than. Its publicity right here is nothing just like the atmosphere from which I got here in Pennsylvania. For a college with such a big athletic following, I at all times puzzled what it might be prefer to play in entrance of a crowd even the scale of a girls’s soccer match. I’ve at all times despatched males’s soccer for his or her potential to pack a stadium. This brings me to a different level – I really like to observe different groups play.
I attempt to attend as many video games as I can. In the meantime, we have had about 10 different scholar athletes come to help us throughout my profession. Granted, it was a 40 minute drive to get to our subject. Fairly actually, the truth that anybody made that effort in any respect was by no means misplaced on us. However that did not change that it felt virtually merciless for us to be requested to volunteer our time for groups that typically by no means acknowledged us after we handed them on campus.
Throughout my time at SLU, I’ve had 4 power coaches, two completely different head coaches, and extra athletic trainers than I can depend. I nonetheless do not know what a few of their names have been. They have been with us for one or two practices and by no means bothered to inform us their names. For one, their coaching package did not make the journey with them to SportPort. Thank God nobody acquired harm that day. The inconsistency is one thing that has triggered me to grit my enamel many occasions all through my profession. Particularly when the administration’s response for something we requested for was that we would have liked to be extra constant. Sadly, the shock of being informed, “I am leaving,” wore off fairly rapidly for me. When in your freshman yr you lose 5 of your teammates, your head coach, and your power coach, the dialog grows outdated. We’re nonetheless conditioned that each time a gathering known as to anticipate the worst. I can not let you know what number of occasions I walked into a gathering considering, “That is it. They’ve lastly lower us,” and even, “I’m wondering who’s leaving this time”. It felt prefer it by no means ended. There was no safety, and by my junior yr it turned a operating joke that attending to know our athletic coach or power coach wasn’t even value it. We knew that they would depart by the tip of the yr anyway.
Discipline hockey isn’t the one sport on campus with no house at SLU. Tennis performs in Forest Park. The tennis group would not even have locker rooms in Chaifetz which was a privilege for us. The swim group always battles poor water circumstances within the Rec. Throwers on the monitor group will lastly get a brand new and improved throwing space for the upcoming season. Girls’s monitor acquired a much bigger locker room when girls’s soccer moved out of Chaifetz and into the power exterior Hermann. It was witnessing such nuances whereas experiencing the issues I’ve and listening to different feminine athlete’s tales that compelled me out of my stupor fairly rapidly. School athletics was not what I believed it was. Typically, I used to be disenchanted within the expertise I had.
Ultimately, I do know I can not change what occurred all through my profession. I’ve no management over whether or not or not subject hockey will get a subject on campus or tennis will get their courts. I can not power power coaches or athletic trainers to remain. However what I can do is make the most effective of a lower than excellent state of affairs. I would not name my expertise unhealthy, as a result of it merely wasn’t. I used to be blessed with a group who likes to make issues enjoyable. They discovered and unfold pleasure every time they may. Even on the times after we wakened at 5 within the morning to be on the subject by 6. On the worst conditioning days we listened to music. If that wasn’t an choice, we might sing or joke amongst ourselves. If somebody was having a foul day, that was whenever you noticed our group come alive to face by one another and help each other. The day we listened to our head coach inform us she was leaving, we seemed round at one another, both with glazed eyes or tear streaked faces and we resolved to manage what we might management. Whereas the pandemic took the worst elements of that spring season from us, we rallied to be there for each other. That was after I actually realized what the phrase “group” meant.
Ultimately, I am disenchanted by the best way adults within the athletic division handled younger girls who have been merely making an attempt to do the factor they get pleasure from most at a college they love. I’m not, nevertheless, disenchanted in the best way my group has dealt with our burdens, ever. Each time we have been handed a foul state of affairs, we dealt with it with class and style. It wasn’t at all times simple, and sometimes it ate into quite a lot of our private time. That by no means mattered as soon as we have been on the sphere, although. We had success regardless of a system that typically felt prefer it was designed to work in opposition to us. I stroll away as a senior who performed subject hockey for 4 years in a Billiken uniform. I misplaced each recreation my freshman yr. I helped SLU to their greatest document since 2006 this yr. I helped my group beat a defending A-10 champion. I made a few of my greatest pals on this group. I created connections with a few of the greatest coaches and other people of their subject. I performed hockey in opposition to a few of the greatest groups within the nation, I’ve been to states I by no means noticed earlier than I got here to school. I’ve had the privilege of working with girls who’re so compelled by injustice they can not assist however communicate up about it. I used to be pushed day-after-day to be a greater athlete, a greater participant, a greater lady, and a greater individual. All the pieces I skilled throughout my time in a Billiken uniform solely made me higher for it.
Retirement modifications the best way you take a look at issues. I can solely do what I’ve performed. I’ve no extra time left to alter statistics or want issues went in another way. The little moments of this season are burned into my mind as a result of I willed them to be. 4 years is a really finite period of time. Typically you do not notice that till you might be staring the tip proper within the face. I’d by no means play subject hockey competitively once more however on the finish of the day, I’m happy with all the things I completed whereas I might play. Once you are available in as a freshman, you usually have enormous concepts of grandeur and ESPN highlights and unimaginable success. For some, that comes true. For me, I had what would possibly seem to some to be a really mundane profession. However my teammates and I do know it was something however mundane. I’ll ceaselessly be a Billiken. Typically, that did not really feel like a tangible objective. However I nonetheless made my desires come true. I labored laborious when nobody was watching, and I spoke up after I felt I wanted to. Even when I’ve solely made myself proud, that is all that issues. I do know there’s change across the nook. For my group, and each girls’s group right here at SLU. Now, I’ve to cheer it on from afar. And as a lot because it fills and breaks my coronary heart on the identical time, I am lastly compelled to say the phrases I’ve waited a whole profession to say out loud: Farewell, Payments. Thanks for all the things.