I wrote this when I was sixteen and I thought I’d share it. But before you read this make sure to read “My Life With Lacrosse.” This will make more sense. Here it is:
It’s ancient, crusty, steep, but that’s what makes the field spectacular. Looking up at the winter sky I think of how pleasant it would be to stay in this moment forever, to stay here perpetually. Standing in the middle of the field feels like being surrounded by a force field. I’m untouchable. Stress, anxiety, life, it doesn’t faze me here. With every footprint I make along the grass, I take a step towards a memory. If I face the interminable forest that sits behind the benches on the field, I am able to envision running through the foliage with my team. We’re like baby geese flocking to our mother, searching to find our special nook where our coaches stand. The place where our questions will be answered, our next move planned, our nerves calmed. When my eyes drift from the woods to the orange goal on my right, I can see the divot to the left of the goal. The hole that can twist a foot, tear a meniscus, yet help a twelve year old score her first goal at the same time. When I gaze at my surroundings, I spot lacrosse balls, water bottles, cleats, but more importantly, I see home.
It’s time. Time for my feet to float across the sea of grass, to smell success in the air, to return once again for another season. I play all year round, but it’s not the same as playing on my home turf. Feeling the anticipation as my teammates and I prepare for the whistle to blow and for a stampede of feet to sprint across the field. Gazing at the ground, I can already envision the rhythmic way my hands move around the shaft, how it’s as if they are connected, working in sync with each other. I can hear my heart pounding against my chest as my feet dart towards the goal, giving me the sensation of soaring. The screams, “AMARI, AMARI!” let me know I have eluded all the other players, making me dash even faster than before. I reach. It’s only me and the goalie. Two players striving for the same thing…victory. I close my eyes, not needing to know where to go. I sense her position. Knees bent, arms out, stick in the air to the right corner of the goal. She’s ready to move in an instant, but I’m quicker. I draw back my stick, giving my arms enough room to follow through, and I release. The ball makes contact with the net producing a whoosh, music to my ears. I open my eyes and am transported back to reality. I look around and feel contentment, peace. Finally it’s lacrosse season.
It was stupid, always would be. Who wanted to put a stick in their hands and run across a field? Until the age of twelve, the game of lacrosse was a mystery to me; I didn’t see the purpose or the pleasure of the sport. However, once Rowe put the stick in my hands, it felt as if I had been playing for years. It didn’t feel weird or uncomfortable; it felt exceptional. I couldn’t quite understand how a piece of metal could make me feel as if bliss was tangible. In that moment I wanted to be a part of the sport and for it to forever be a part of me.
Out on the field, I become someone else. My alter ego, like Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce, comes out and something switches within me. I’m stronger, braver, more confident. Yet, no matter how different I am on the field than off, it is as if I am the real me out there. No façade, just me. When I am on the field, I’m capable of feeling so many different emotions in that one moment. Fear, sadness, excitement, anger, the passion that I don’t often allow people to see. Once I step on the field, it’s as if the grass sucks the pretense out of my body and I am just left raw. Out there, I’m not the bookworm or the Oreo that everyone associates me with, I’m just another player like everyone else. I am liberated.
The lacrosse field is like the map to my life. Stride anywhere on it and it will guide me to my next step. It is the key to my future. The field has shown me how to appreciate life, to strive for what I want. It will take me to college, lead me to a potential job, direct me in raising a family. It’s more than a map, it’s love. I feel it every time I walk on the field, whether it’s from my teammates, the fans, my family, the coaches, it’s ubiquitous. I have struggled for a long time trying to find a place where I belong, where I can feel at ease. Even though I will one day become old and not be able to hold a lacrosse stick in my hand due to arthritis, I will be happy to return to field. To stand in the same place that gave me so many great experiences and memories.
Photo courtesy of http://www.lighthouselacrosse.com