Student Athlete Guide: The Final Buzzer

You are never going to be prepared when the final buzzer rings. No matter how many articles you read, how many naysayers state their opinions to you, or how many teammates you have watched go through this process, when the clock hits zero on your final game of your athletic career, your whole world becomes still.

On Saturday March 5th 2016, my athletic career came to a close. Upon returning to the locker room the mood was sombre amongst my teammates. I kept my head low and didn’t utter a word, I was scared of what emotion would escape out of me and even more fearful that I would become too overwhelmed if I tried to talk. I physically started to shake trying to contain the emotion that I was feeling.  When Coach Dillon came in and started talking, I was only registering bits and pieces of what she was saying, all I was thinking was “This is it. After 18 years involved in competitive sports, I am done.”

As I composed myself enough to glance around the room,  my eyes fell upon my fellow senior teammates and that’s when it dawned on me. I was being selfish. I was being selfish in the sense that I was pitying myself, thinking that this is just about me and what I am feeling. I didn’t realize that those who have been by my side the past four years are dealing with this same fate. Regardless if we are are experiencing this on different levels of the emotional spectrum, this is all about us. The four of us are now in our own boat.

Class of 2016 (From left to right) Jayme McCreary, Lizzy Marks, Bailee Goodon, Tori Trovato

Class of 2016 (From left to right) Jayme McCreary, Lizzy Marks, Bailee Goodon, Tori Trovato

So when coaches asked if the seniors wanted to talk, I for one didn’t want to. But again I was resorting back to what I felt and not what my senior teammates might need to hear. So I swallowed the lump in my throat and I spoke. I talked about how the coaching staff sent the seniors an article before we started our playoff run, by Harvard Senior, Ice Hockey Captain, Jimmy Vesey. In the article Vesey talked about how he declined to go up to the NHL with the Nashville Predators at the conclusion of his Junior season so that he could finish out his college career. Vesey emphasized the honor and pure ecstasy you get to be able to play for your college, but more importantly that there are no trades in college, or kids playing for the next contract deal. In college you simply just play for the school but more importantly you play for each other. Ultimately Vesey’s message was to remind every athlete and especially ever senior, the difference these past four years make on your life.

As the coaches left the team returned to their routines of getting their bags packed up, meeting up with parents, and showering up. All the seniors stayed in full equipment for what seemed like hours, nobody dared to move. I think we all just wanted to sit in our uniforms for just one moment longer. Teammates would pass us and exchanged a sympathetic look, in which we are grateful for but you can’t help but notice the look in their eyes in terms of “I am glad it’s not my time yet.”

By the time I found my parents I could tell that this was  just as tough for them as it was for me. I let myself be embraced by their arms.  I am the youngest of three in my family and all of my siblings were involved in sports. The past 25 years my parents have been the the biggest sports fans to my siblings and I. All that our family has known in our lives is being involved with sports. So just like myself, my parents are also in a new discovery phase of their life and the big question of what next?

I’m not going to lie when I tell you that the next few weeks are going to be easy, hell the next couple months until graduation are are frankly going to be brutal. All your life you have known the person that you are with competitive sports. Being an athlete on a team, that’s bigger than yourself and means something special. You now enter a complete unknown of who you are without sports, it’s a rediscovery phase that is going to be a process. Yes there are adult leagues that you can play in, and you can still play the sport that you love, but the lifestyle is completely different.

When I was having a rough day I called up my dad. He told me that it’s okay to feel sad, and be angry with reality but to not lose touch with who you are. I asked him how could I possibly do that if who I am is being an athlete? It wasn’t until I was typing up this blog when I realized what he was trying to say to me. Hockey is who I am yes. It’s a beautiful piece in what makes up me. But it’s just one piece. I now have the opportunity to build up the other pieces that I am composed of that I couldn’t have before, I now have the chance to discover and learn new things about myself. To go on this new adventure of life with a new sense of purpose.

So when that final buzzer sounds, and the clock ticks away its last second, don’t be afraid to be engulfed by the emotion because what you have accomplished in your athletic career is now a beautiful piece of you.

The semester ends when?!

Like most students on campus, I’ve been as busy as ever juggling  jobs and classes, relationships and hobbies, and most of all… me time. This also means that I neglected updating all of you with how my semester was going. So, here it goes. It’s been a long one. It’s interesting to see how far I can push myself and it’s really rewarding when the grades that come back reflect the work that’s been put in. Graduate school is no joke, but at the same time I feel that this is where I’m supposed to be and that I was prepared for the work. Civic Engagement is going well, we were super busy until the election and now we’re planning for next semester, which is just as time consuming. The Women’s Club Hockey team is off to a decent start, not where we usually are at this point but we picked up our play as of late. Coaching teaches me a lot about leadership roles, professionalism, the game of hockey, and myself. Right now we’re 5-3-0 with a few games left this semester to improve that quite a bit. It’s something that I love to do, though it’s really time consuming. On a lighter note, being a graduate student means no finals! it also means that there are only 8 days left in my semester. Definitely thankful for that. Well, hope all of you are doing well. I’ll try to get on this more often to keep it updated.

White-Out

It’s just been a week since the Oswego Men’s Hockey slammed Plattsburgh in the one the SUNY Oswego’s biggest events of the academic year. This was my third time attending the event so I was pretty familiar with everything that goes on with the game. This time, I was more focused on the fans. I was impressed with the amount of students who put so much work into preparation for the game. Whether it was painting themselves in all white, dressing up in a skin tight greenman costume, or intricate face makeup, it all was superb.

Before coming to Oswego, I had not watched a single hockey game. But here, I have myself sitting in the seats of dozens of games. I think it is more than fights, pucks, and encouraged violence. The true experience manifested far beyond the ice. I enjoyed the unity it brought students. Everyone was there to have a good time…..Tormenting the opposing team’s goal serves as one of the primary team building activities!

Lets GO LAKERS!!

This past Saturday I went to my first SUNY Oswego hockey game. I was so excited that I thought the game was at 12 p.m. got ready made breakfast only to see it was 7 p.m. Fail I know. Anyway I’ve been wanting to go to a game for sometime now. First because I have school spirit  and secondly because supposedly we are really good (more on that later) so I wanted to see what all the “Hoopla” was about.

When we first arrived at the game(got there a lil late)

BOO! BOO THAT MAN! (Morrisville’s goalie ..supposedly he is really good don’t ask me his name though -shrugs-)

Some Lakers & those other guys

Face off:

I had really good seats in the student section I was Rink Side:

We lost the game so that was slighty disappointing. From what I’ve heard about how good our team is and the final scores I usually see you could tell that Saturday just wasn’t their day. They have been on the road for quite some time and when you are that good everyone is gunning for you. I’m not one to judge because we all lack effort sometimes. I’m writing this post instead of doing homework(shrugs) HEY MA ! lol.

All in All though I had the time of my life. I am definitely going to the next game. The student section is too live. I even started the “Lets Go Lakers” chant in the 3rd period when I worked up some nerve. So its official you can’t come to Oswego either as a student or a visitor and NOT go to a game that’s a crime. UPD will arrest you.

-Lifetime Laker Fanatic Now