I believe sports have the power to connect people like little else can: from championships to heartbreaks, long bus rides to brutal conditioning, every member of the team is engaged and connected.
While I love to train, compete and push myself to new goals, my favorite part of playing sports at Harvard-Westlake over the past four years has been the teams I have been a part of.
More than breaking the surface of the water, working on my shot or practicing sliding (my teammates would be laughing), my love for sports is cheering with the girls by my side, faces pressed to the fence of the dugout and knowing that when I call, they will respond in unison. It is knowing that every one of my field hockey teammates has memorized the entirety of the rap to Kanye West’s six minute long “Monster.” It is laughing hysterically at something one of my diving teammates said as we shiver outside in the wintertime, taking turns pouring the pail of warm water over our heads.
It starts with the everyday commitment. The pursuit of perfection begins at practice, and bonds are built from the bottom-up.
The little day-to-day victories that we achieve in practice are what ultimately lead to championships, and success only comes once we commit to bringing our best for each other because every girl with a number on her back depends on it. Through these daily demands of repetition, conditioning and drills, we inevitably grow together. I know what each of my teammates has been working on, excels at and struggles with.
We have become a unit so I can know that when I send the ball up to the goal someone will be on the post to tip it in, and if I miss a ball at third base, my left fielder will be ready, backing me up. This strength in togetherness fosters an unbreakable bond. We celebrate everyday triumphs together and push each other through hiccups along the way. The little moments that I did not expect to mean anything have become some of my fondest memories and people I would not expect to bond with have become some of my best friends. I can say without a doubt that these strong relationships are what drive our success.
Sports have given me a family at Harvard-Westlake. When I first came to the upper school as a not-so-shy tenth grader, when all I knew of the campus were the memories I had made during summer field hockey preseason, the girls locker room quickly became my sanctuary. But it was not the quiet, peaceful space that many would call to mind; rather, it was a buzzing frenzy of energy vibrating to the beat of rap music. And it was really my field hockey teammates, the people who formed that pregame dance circle, who made me feel at home.
I loved that locker room because I knew that I would always find people who would make me laugh until I cried, dance until I fell on the floor and talk like it was a therapy session. The dugout filled that space in the spring, with organized cheers, chants and laughter that never ceased.
I love playing for Harvard-Westlake not just for my teammates, but for the greater school community, which encompasses all of the people I interact with on a daily basis. I love wearing ‘HW’ on the front of my jersey because it means I am playing for my teachers, my friends, those who came before me and those who will follow. That ‘HW’ logo unites us and makes us proud to be Wolverines.