[Editor’s note: This week’s guest column is by Hope Seasholes, a freshman who is majoring in art therapy. She is a member of the Lesley women’s soccer team, which has qualified for the NECC tournament for the 10th consecutive year.]
Soccer is often called the “beautiful game,” and that is not surprising. It is a sport that is played, watched and cherished around the world. It is something that we all can share and that we can come together to celebrate. I’ve played soccer in the streets of Greece with boys half my age; the language may be different, but the game is universal.
I grew up playing soccer, and it has always been a constant in my life, no matter how old I was or where I was attending school. My reasons for playing soccer have changed throughout the years. It has grown on me as I have grown up with it. At first it was an outlet for all of my pent-up energy as a child. At age 5, the only thing I knew was that I was supposed to get the ball into the other net, and that’s what I did. As I grew up, the game became more sophisticated. Suddenly there were positions and referees, and the field was bigger.
Of course there was a time when I seriously considered quitting. Like in all things in life there were challenges and there have been times when I didn’t enjoy playing. During middle school, the girls were bullies and the coach just couldn’t handle the dynamics. Throughout my life soccer has sometimes seemed like an obstacle: I have sacrificed so much to play, whether it was time, money, even friendships. But at the end of the day, I do what I love and I’ve never regretted that.
I couldn’t imagine not playing soccer in college. I love being a part of a team; it gives me a sense of belonging, but it is also comforting to do what I love with other people who enjoy it, teammates who understand what it takes to be a student-athlete. I love being surrounded by people who encourage me and want the best for me, just as I do for them. I play for my team. Every day they are the reason I work, the reason I sprint down the field or slide tackle to win the ball. Soccer is a game of selflessness; as with any team, you must learn see the big picture, to put the team first. They are my family. Being a student-athlete pushes me to work harder both as a person and a student.
Our team has great chemistry, which is the reason we are so successful. Of course, this is not always the case on all teams– it is difficult to get 25 players to work together and to work for each other. But that is what we do, and that is why we win.
Currently we are 12-4-2, this means we have won 12 games, lost 4 and tied 2. This will be the 10th year in a row we have competed in the NECC tournament. We are currently in second place in our conference just below Elms College. This season has been a battle, but we have played well and worked hard. We came out strong against Tufts, and fought for a tie; and we were able to pull out a 2-0 win against Regis and Wellesley. As one of seven freshmen players, I knew that we had a good team, and I felt the pressure of the legacy we were set to uphold.
Of course, every team is different, and every year new people join. Nevertheless, we adjusted and found our rhythm. Our first game of the NECC tournament is this Saturday and we will be hosting the quarter final and the semifinal games. If you want to attend and cheer us on (which I hope you will), the times for the matches will be announced later. I am proud of how much we have accomplished so far, and I have confidence that we will be ready for whatever challenges may lie ahead.