My Story: Reward from Risk


On March 13, 2020, I was 15 years old.

Throughout my whole life, I played soccer. From competing in intense basement matches with my older brother to playing Tappan and club games year-round, soccer was a huge part of my life and identity.

As much as freshman me loved and lived for soccer, I wanted to try something different.

I always followed my brother’s footsteps in all activities I participated in, whether that had been band, soccer, or even video games. However, entering high school, I wanted to explore other things I might enjoy.

I asked my mom if I could go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy lacrosse equipment a week before the high school spring season began. I wasn’t too busy during the spring and I thought this was my chance to step out of my comfort zone and try something I’d never done before.

When I first brought my stick home, I tried to throw the ball against the side of my house and I struggled to catch it consistently. It was frustrating. I questioned if a new sport was even a good idea and reconsidered even trying out. I went inside and watched a 45-minute YouTube tutorial on the “fundamentals of lacrosse.” I took notes, rewatched sections and mimicked hand movements until I became more comfortable with the stick in my hands.

About a week before tryouts, school and athletics were canceled for the rest of the year due to COVID-19. Despite my nerves to try something new, I had been looking forward to the season and was utterly disappointed.

Throughout the weeks of online school, I continued practicing with my stick and watching videos to recognize where I needed improvement. My friend who played lacrosse would also throw around with me and teach me more about the game after school. The more time I spent outside, the more I got comfortable with the stick. It encouraged me to keep practicing.

In the winter of my sophomore year, I finally got to play my first game. Throughout the whole summer, I practiced a lot. From biking to Meijer, playing wall ball behind the store and practicing the drills I saw on Youtube, I was much better than when I had first bought my stick. The game was indoor: It was an (8v8) JV game and we played Divine Child High School.

I played horrible.

My stick skills were on par with other players, but I didn’t know how to play on the field. I played like a soccer player: I stayed wide like a winger, came back on defense and waited for an opportunity to move the field. I didn’t know who to look for on offensive possessions and I never left my man on defense. I wasn’t used to getting smacked in the arm with a metal pole and I panicked when a defender gave me a check.

After the game, I felt discouraged but reminded myself of the progress I had already made.

In the summer of my sophomore year, I had played a whole high school lacrosse season and decided to sign up for a club team. In my third tournament, I won MVP of my team. Just a year ago during that time, I was contemplating if I should stick with the game or not.

As much as I complained about the inconvenience of the pandemic, I don’t know if I would’ve found my passion for lacrosse without it. If it weren’t for COVID-19, I wouldn’t have spent hours behind Meijer throwing a ball against the wall or taken notes on videos from the internet. I wouldn’t have experienced my work paying off.