When the phrase comes up, “someone’s watching you,” many think of someone watching them to see them fail or get in trouble. Often, we do not think that the “someone” is a fan or a follower. In the game of lacrosse, there are fans everywhere and a large part of these fans are in the youth and high school programs. They idolize players and teams in hopes that they may be that great or wearing those school colors. Their role models are some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Having a role model gives them the hope, the passion, and the drive to be in their idol’s shoes one day.
My role model was Gabbi Kamide, a family friend and a standout at Carthage High School near my hometown of Watertown, NY. My mom works in the same district with Gabbi’s mom, Sherri. I loved lacrosse so my parents would bring me to Gabbi’s high school games to watch her and her teammates. I wanted to be just like her. I would try to emulate her by getting the same stick, goggles, and gloves as her. Gabbi was the only 2x US Lacrosse All-American in the Frontier League. No other player had garnered that title twice. After her high school playing career, Gabbi moved on to Le Moyne College where she would have another stellar career as she broke the career draw control record. Gabbi was my idol. She taught me how to take the draws so maybe one day I could be great, just like she was. I was a sponge absorbing her words. I told myself, “one day, I will break her records.”
Years later, I found myself following in her footsteps. At the end of my high school career, I joined Gabbi as the only 2x US Lacrosse All-American in the Frontier League. Interestingly enough, after many recruiting visits, I committed to Le Moyne in hopes of winning a national championship one day. In my junior year, I broke Gabbi’s career draw control record of 263 draw controls. It was great to break a record, but to beat her record, my role model’s record, was incredible! This is what I had been working for all of my career. It all started when I was a young, little laxer who loved the game and loved watching some of the best play.
Now having been a youth coach and working at lacrosse camps, I see the passion in some of these young athletes that remind me a lot of myself. I even found that I was influencing some athletes in my hometown. In high school, I wore eye black for every single lacrosse game. They were in the shape of an “F” for my last name, Fazio. Our high school varsity team managers, Bailey, Megan, Rachael, and Mallory, who are all now high school athletes, would wear the same “F’s” and send me pictures. To me that was humbling and surreal. For so long, I looked up to someone and now I see that I have fans of my own.
To all the girls, who idolize the top players in the country or that have role models, keep dreaming and keep working hard! You are not crazy for obsessing over an athlete. You are passionate, you are driven. These are qualities we cannot teach. They come from within. Role models are the best thing to have because you have a career goal in front of you. It is something you can always chase every day. I don’t know if I would be the athlete I am today without watching Gabbi and other incredible athletes. Like I said, you never know, one day you might be in the history books with them. Dream on!