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.

Kick It! Kickball Tournament

This past Saturday, I competed in a kickball tournament that was put on by Active Minds. To play, two requirements needed to be met. Firstly, you had to put a team together of eight to nine members, and secondly, you had to pay a $100 fee – not for each member but for the whole team, so it came down to about $10 a person. It is rather pricey, in my opinion, but firstly, you get a t-shirt, and secondly, proceeds went toward a good cause – mental health awareness.

It was a lot of fun, for the most part, but sports aren’t really my cup of tea, as I am, by no means, an athlete. We did, however, win a match, which was pretty awesome. We are really proud of that, and we lasted three matches. We lost the first match, won the second, and then lost the third, which is when we were eliminated. The team that we beat had great sportsmanship, though. Because Ray (my boyfriend) was our captain, he named our team the Stingrays, and the team that lost to us said afterwards that they had been stung by the Stingrays, which was funny.

The third match was next to impossible, which is why we lost. The kickers on the opposing team were excellent kickers, and they kicked the ball so far out that it was next to impossible to get the ball before anyone in the field could get it in time to get them out. Plus, I had a difficult time catching the ball because it was a sunny day, and I therefore couldn’t see where the ball was headed.

Overall, it was a really great experience, especially since we won a match, and it was a lot of fun being on a team and having to work together. Everyone, for the most part, was a really great sport, and it’s awesome that this is going to be a good experience to include on a resume. Not only did we work on teams and therefore have to demonstrate leadership, the money that was paid went toward mental health awareness in schools, so it will be helpful for Ray and I to include this on our resumes, since we will be teachers. I want to close by saying that Wednesday, I have an interview with the Sheldon Hall Director for a Desk Attendant position next year; it’s my birthday that day, as well, so hopefully, that will bring me some good luck!

Just an Update

I am writing this right before going to bed at 2:15 a.m., so forgive me if I am at all incoherent; I’m sure that, at the very least, I will be random. Anyway, today (as in Wednesday, April 13th) marked two years that I have been with my boyfriend Ray, so that was something special; we are going to celebrate this weekend by going into town and doing some fun things such as hitting up the Coffee Connection and seeing a movie (Scream 4). I just really hope that isn’t going to rain, because otherwise, we may have to invest in a couple of umbrellas (as long as Oswego doesn’t display its usual ferocity of winds, as well, that is).

I am currently catching up with the Scream films so that I can see the fourth one this weekend. I really love Wes Craven and am enjoying the films. Last week, I saw the original Last House on the Left film, and I can’t really say that I enjoyed that; it was the strangest and probably the most disturbing movie that I have ever seen, but I absolutely love the new one. Something that I really love about Craven is that his films are not what I would consider the “typical” horror film, because by the end of the movie, the hunter usually becomes the hunted, and revenge is sought out and achieved, and going even beyond that, I have recently noticed that it is usually the female(s) that accomplish this, so perhaps, Craven is a bit of a feminist, which is very cool.

Anyway, on Saturday, April 30th, I am playing in a kickball tournament here on campus. Do not get me wrong; I am, by no means, an athlete, so it is really just for fun and was not ultimately my idea (that would be Ray). I am looking forward to it, but at the same time, I have my reservations. Like I said, I’m not an athlete, and I have no coordination, so I’m worried about just making myself look ridiculous, and also, it is for three hours, which is a very long time to play kickball, especially if it’s going to be hot and sunny that day; I guess we will just have to wait and see how it turns out. I don’t mean to be negative, because I’m sure that it will be fun. Anyway, signing off for now, as it is getting very late, and I am exhausted.

Broomball Triggers Competition at Oswego State

Broomball? Um, what is that?”

That was my initial response three years ago when my new friend, Hannah, asked my roommate, neighbors and I to play in a broomball league throughout a portion of the semester. I had no idea what this game was, nor had I ever heard of it. But did that stop me from playing? Not a chance.

Broomball, she explained in a less efficient manner, is a game similar to ice hockey. There are two teams consisting of six players, including the goaltender. The object of the game is to score more goals than the other team. Sounds simple, right? Well, take off those ice skates and put on sneakers, and instead of a hockey stick, replace it with a “broom.” Oh, and you get a miniature ball (about the size of the balls you use when you play basketball in your room, with the hoop attached to the back of the door) instead of a puck.

Needless to say, I fell in love with the game. We played various teams at around 11 p.m. every week, providing a relief from homework. My friends and I were so psyched about it, we even planned to sign up every year for the rest of our college career. It was freshman year then.

We were intense players freshman year.

It’s senior year now and I played broomball again for the first time last night since freshman year. College got in the way — suddenly my classes were harder, I had to work more hours and homework became more prevalent than gallivanting across the ice. Last night, however, kicked off a fierce competition between the employees at Campus Recreation and Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers. Although every member of my team (the fitness centers) hadn’t played in the same amount of time as myself or longer, and Campus Rec plays nearly every day, we couldn’t say no when they challenged us. So I put the homework aside for an hour and shuffled onto the ice once more.

After two 20-minute periods of a lot of falling and checking into the boards, Campus Rec added their first tally to the win column with a 5-0 victory. However, they believe that this was a one-time deal. What they don’t realize is that we don’t give up that easily. I have a feeling that I’ll be on the ice much more often this semester, whether I like it or not. My co-workers and boss might get upset if I don’t.

Broomball originated in Canada, but is now played across the world, particularly in the U.S., Australia and Japan. It’s a recreational sport, but play can often get intense. By the end of the game, I was sweating through my face mask and my shirt had subtle sweat stains. Not bad when I was playing in a freezing hockey rink and I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants.  It definitely made up for my lack of a workout yesterday; I burned about 476 calories in an hour. So if you ever hear broomball being promoted in your area, don’t be afraid to give it a shot!

Have you ever heard of or played broomball before? What do you think about the sport?