I cannot feel a single part of my body for I have been standing outside in negative five-degree weather for the past two hours. I have on thermals, wind pants, Under Armour, a sweatshirt a hat and a pair of gloves. Oh, and let’s not forget my kilt and practice jersey. It has been snowing for a while now, but for the past ten minutes, it seems as if the snow is coming up from the turf rather than down from the sky; if that is at all conceivably possible. My coach has blown the whistle and the ball has miraculously fallen into my stick. As I begin to run down the field, I can feel the wind trying to stop me, biting my nose, forcing me to question my trek forward. Faking one way, then dodging the other, I gently place the ball into the top right corner of the net. As the whistle blows to indicate a goal has been scored, I run back to the center of the circle, slapping my teammates high-five with smiles all around. At the moment, I take a second to look at my surroundings and remember the reasons why I play.
It’s not about winning or losing, championship trophies, or who’s better than whom. It’s not about receiving a scholarship, earning post-season honors or making captain. It’s not about the athletic endorsements, the free clothing or being drafted. It’s about pride, teamwork, passion and determination. It’s about the blood, the sweat, the tears and the effort put forth during each game. It’s about that feeling of exhaustion and exhilaration knowing you have just given it your all.
I am an athlete because I portray these characteristics both on and off of the field. Before I am a woman, a friend or a student, I am an athlete and a teammate. My life would be completely unfulfilled had I not been involved in athletics for it has been my source of motivation. My passion for sports has only grown with age. I know that I will never be a professional athlete who plays prime time on ESPN, signs Nike contracts or is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. But I do know that I will take each and every practice, game and high five with me throughout the rest of my life, for I have cherished every moment I have stepped out onto that field.
Written 15 years ago by Rachel Millim, Director of Brant Lake Sports Academy. Rachel earned her BS in Sociology from Cornell where she was an All-American Lacrosse player. She was also an All-American Lacrosse player in high school and an All-County basketball player. Post-college, Rachel worked as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Her competitive edge has never left as she recently has completed marathons, triathlons and century rides.