By Meg Gesner (Severna Park, Md./Severn School)
Minors: Art and Mathematics
At the core of every successful team lays a strong foundation built upon shared values decided on by the team itself. For our team, those values are commitment, legacy, sacrifice, team first mentality, and humor. Throughout our season thus far, each of these have played a vital role in our success both on and off the field.
COMMITMENT: Most college students look forward to spring break as they plan trips with friends to tropical destinations with week-long parties in store. Sure that sounds great, but so does going to Virginia for two snow-filled, sub 32° games, right?! Well, maybe not to everyone, but as a committed member of a team, it is not seen as a duty, but rather as a privilege. Similarly, returning from an away game loss at 11:30pm and waking up the next morning for a 6:30am team workout may not seem the most glamorous, but again it comes with the job. After my four years here, commitment is a value I have not only gained appreciation for, but more importantly realized the effectiveness of it in terms of overall team success.
LEGACY: In my first few years on the team, we had very few (if not one) graduating seniors. Since then, legacy has been a value our Coach and team harps on constantly, as we are the ones establishing this program. As a graduating class this year, we have harvested and emphasized a focus on family and have certainly realized that once you're a Seahawk women's lacrosse player, you're always a Seahawk women's lacrosse player. Leaving a legacy also allows for us as individuals to take a step back, leave our marks, and take direct ownership of something bigger than us.
SACRIFICE: As most student-athletes learn over their four years, a lot of typical college experiences must be sacrificed as we put priority on and commitment towards our team. From missed nights out, to nutritional choices, to early morning workouts, we as student-athletes must often choose success over personal wants. Sacrifice also spans to teammates' roles on a team as well as onto the field. This year, for example, we have had many players step into new roles moving into starting positions, leadership roles, and even joining the team. With sacrifice also comes flexibility and adaptability, two traits our team heavily stresses.
TEAM FIRST MENTALITY: This year, we have shifted our mindsets and focus towards putting the team first, in all senses of the phrase. A team first mentality means sacrificing for the betterment of the team as a whole whether it is on the field, dishing out an assist when you could have gone to goal, or off the field. This season, one of our teammates experienced one of the worst losses a daughter can go through on the same day we were scheduled to play Washington College. She knew her family needed her at home, but more importantly she knew her team needed her and she needed her team. So with that, we packed up the bus, headed to Washington College, and she played arguably one of the best games of her career (maybe I'm a little biased, but she killed it I swear). Having gone through many ups and downs within a season, it is imperative that we continue to embody a team first mentality because at the end of the day, it is your teammates who are always there for you.
HUMOR: In my opinion, humor is the heart and soul of our team. We never take ourselves too seriously, appreciate our time together, and laugh (a lot) every day. When I say we laugh a lot, I mean A LOT. From teammates constantly falling, to dance parties, to random crying spells, to Coach's April Fool's Day fake engagement (turns out I'm really gullible), our team is quite good at making any situation comedic. Of course, lacrosse and winning is great, but in the long run, it is the memories and experiences that will be remembered.
These five values, while not necessarily discussed directly every day, are undoubtedly the best words to describe our team. As is mentioned in our team creed, we are a family propelled by an unbreakable bond; a family that all 22 of us acquired upon coming to SMCM; a family I am pretty dang lucky to be a part of. So cherish it - every single minute of it - because these are the people that will define your college career and be your lifelong sisters. As Division III student-athletes, we choose to embody these values while balancing our athletics, academics, and personal responsibilities.
Twitter: @smcseahawks, @SMCMWLAX, #GoHawks, #TalonsOut, #Unfinished
Instagram: @smcseahawks, @smcmwlax