When I was asked if I was interested in writing a blog entry for “Behind the Whistle,” I was both honored and shocked. As a third-year head coach, I was not sure what I could possibly share with the lacrosse community. All of the blog entries are so powerful and meaningful, written by both new coaches and those with years of experience. My mind started churning after reading Sam Apuzzo’s entry, Strong Enough to Thrive, about her experiences recovering from a torn ACL.
I started thinking about my own career, as a player and coach, and my journey dealing with a torn ACL. When an injury like this occurs, I think each person goes through the struggle of, “why me?” and I was no different. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and although I missed my entire sophomore season playing the sport I love with my teammates and best friends, looking back now I see that tearing my ACL may have been one of the best things that happened to me. I learned some of the most important life lessons through that experience; to always take time to reflect, to appreciate what I have and to say thank you to those that have impacted me along the way. Tearing my ACL gave me my fifth year of eligibility and the opportunity to play for Coach Kerry Hausdorf, which eventually led to the start of my career in coaching. Thank you, Coach!
The sport of lacrosse has given me so much in life. It has taught me important lessons and values to live by including teamwork, perseverance, and resiliency. It has provided me countless experiences and memories that will last a life time. While I am just starting out in my career and am incredibly thankful for all that lacrosse has given me, it is the people that have impacted me along the way that are the most important. As a new academic year is upon us, and we become caught up in statistics and practice planning, I know I need to take a step back and remember to say thank you.
TO COACHES: Thank you to all of my coaches and mentors, from high school, to college, to coaching; from soccer to basketball to lacrosse. They have shaped me into the person I am today. I have relied heavily on my former coaches and colleagues to help me navigate through this crazy career choice: coaching. It is impossible to try to figure out everything on your own, and I have certainly had a LOT of questions. To all the people behind the scenes that have been my sounding board, Thank You.
TO PLAYERS: Thank you to all the teammates I had the opportunity to play with and players I have been fortunate enough to coach, for helping me grow and develop. It is possible that I have learned more about myself in the past three years than I have in my entire life and that is greatly due to the interactions that I have had with my players. My players have provided me with a different perspective, positively impacting my life, and I can only hope that I have had a similar effect on them. To my players and teammates at the University of Bridgeport, Simmons College, and Bentley University, Thank You.
TO FAMILY: Thank you to all of my family and friends for supporting me in all that I do. Everyone knows a coach’s life can be a rollercoaster, with tremendous highs and awful lows. I am grateful that they are always there and know exactly what I need, whether it’s celebrating the accomplishments, providing encouragement, or sometimes just being a distraction. To my support system of family and friends, Thank You.
Regardless of whether you belong to one of the groups mentioned above or if we have only encountered each other a few times, please know that I appreciate your wise words, value your opinions, and most of all, cherish your support in helping me grow as a coach and person. I challenge you to take time to reflect and SAY THANK YOU to YOUR people whether it’s a text, phone call, email, or in person, to all who have helped you along the way! Years from now, I will look back at this post and will no doubt have a much longer list of people to thank, but for now, Thank You!