The joy of D3 ath­let­ics

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Each mem­ber of the ath­letic pro­grams at St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land chooses to be a part of the Di­vi­sion III ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause it is some­thing they love. There isn’t the same mo­ti­va­tion as some­one get­ting a schol­ar­ship or be­cause any­one is ex­pect­ing you to per­form. It is the mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences and fam­ily of team­mates that make our time on these teams mean­ing­ful and un­for­get­table.

My teams share ex­pe­ri­ences with me that few can re­late to, putting in hun­dreds of hours of prac­tice to pre­pare for a race that is over in min­utes, or to work 70 min­utes for that 1 sec­ond it takes to make a game-win­ning goal. All the work that we’ve done lead­ing up to play­ing a col­le­giate sport can’t com­pare to the wakeup call that is pre­sea­son, and the ice-baths that are nec­es­sary after­wards. There are all dif­fer­ent kinds of peo­ple who are able to teach you things on and off the field or in the pool. I am sur­rounded by peo­ple who are ded­i­cated and tal­ented in ways I could never com­pare, mak­ing me want to work that much harder, and feel proud to be a part of our com­mu­nity.

We spend a lot of time to­gether to the point where we know each other ex­tremely well, al­most too well. At one point there was a trav­el­ing ear of corn that popped up in a new per­son’s locker ev­ery day dur­ing field hockey, that some of us are still not sure where it came from. There was a rather large shark in the wa­ter dur­ing our Florida trip that showed how fast three of our swim­mers could re­ally sprint. Also there is a level of ded­i­ca­tion it takes to shave your en­tire body, and to be­come bald for a few weeks as it grows back for champs. I can’t de­scribe the ex­pe­ri­ence for my­self per­son­ally, but itch­i­ness has been re­ported.

Play­ing the sports we chose teaches us how to be team play­ers and fill roles that are not al­ways what you want in the mo­ment, but is what is best for the team. There is def­i­nitely chaos and crazi­ness at times and talk of how much work it is to be both a stu­dent and an ath­lete, but at the end of the day, the choice to play an­other sea­son is worth any sac­ri­fice to be a part of the shared com­mit­ment, fo­cus and pas­sion we bring to­gether as a team.

Ni­cole Ler­tora, Ol­ney The writer is a sopho­more two-sport ath­lete on the St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land Sea­hawk field hockey and swim teams.

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