The joy of D3 athletics
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.