I’ve put this off for the longest time, because it’s not easy to put into words all the things I’ve been feeling since Regionals. Regionals was a weird tournament for me, because our seniors graduated that Saturday, so many of them attended the ceremony. Playing without some of the seniors was rough. It was sad not to have their voices on the sideline, their presence on the field, or their experience in the games. We, nonetheless, played very well on Saturday, taking 2nd in our pool—by playing some especially stellar games against UCF and Auburn. Sunday, with all of our seniors, we played Kennesaw first, and then lost to Florida State in a super close game, which put us in the third place bracket to play Auburn again. Although we lost this rematch, we left Regionals in 4th place, and with our heads held high.
There are a number of reasons that this tournament was different for me. Yes, it was the last tournament that I would play with 9 of our players, but that’s not what made it so emotional for me. This tournament was special for me because it was the culmination of my favorite year in sports. I’m gonna tell you why (because I can–I run this blog).
Tape 1: Ms. Madeleine Frey
Perhaps many of you know Maddy, or have read the short (outdated) piece about her on this website, but if you have ever even talked to coach Maddy, you’ll understand why she is the best coach in the country – if not the world. I have never met a friendlier, more patient, more composed, and more engaging person in my entire life, all of which are key qualities of a coach and a friend. When you talk to Maddy, you quickly find that she cares deeply about every player on the field; she notices the little things you do and praises you in a genuine way that inspires all of us to do little things correct. Wrapping up 2 years with Maddy, I can only begin to imagine how the seniors must feel as they leave an incredible woman, although they know that the team is certainly in good hands.
Tape 2: Team
I had never really been on a team before. I danced, and played tennis and that’s the extent of my physical activity before Wreck. These two years being on Wreck have been incredibly rewarding in the teammates I’ve had. These strong, fierce women have truly inspired me to work hard on the field and in the gym to be a valuable part of the whole. I have revamped my personal definition of team to match what I have found in Wreck. Like a school of fish moving through the water, we are a unit, and we move and win together. We are most successful, and most graceful, when we’re all working together and I find that truly beautiful.
Tape 3: Sisters
I’d love to tell you about each player on this team individually and what they mean to me, but this blog post would be a novel and I’d have to call it 33 reasons why. I will however tell you about the sisterhood as a whole. As a member of a sorority, I have seen sisterhood, and forgive me Srat Gods, but Wreck is the truest sisterhood I’ve ever experienced. From hugs to midnight banana bread, Wreckies gives so much. The love we have for each other can’t be described; from ACL tears to concussions, we’ve stood together and cried and laughed and put each other first. Wreck is encouraging (although not without some sass), supportive, and as clichéd as it is: always there for you. Furthermore, Wreckies are the older sisters (even if they’re younger) that I constantly look up to and set a shining example for me and for the world. We’re researchers, students, and artists. We code, we build, we solve. We’re smart, we’re cool, and we have excellent taste in footwear. We excel in all that we do. Hell yeah these women inspire me, as they inspire the rest of the world too.
Tape 4: Competition
I’m going to quote Maddy’s definition of competition: “to strive for excellence in personal or team efforts, aiming to consistently perform at the highest level possible” which is, in my opinion, the noblest of pursuits. In Wreck, I have truly found a place where every day I am trying to get better, and 33 other women are there right with me, regardless of their current skill level. Despite my many dropped Frisbees, my graceless rolls, and my frequent confusion, I have accomplished so much in my two years on Wreck, and I am proud of what I have done, a sentiment I am confident that most (if not all) Wreckies share. I am always competing with myself to be better than I was yesterday, and I am glad that I have found the perfect environment to do that.
Tape 4.5: Advice from a still-noob
I made a highlight reel for myself. It’s not long, but it’s exciting to watch. I think everyone should make a highlight reel, because often at the end of a tournament you remember the drops, the times you got beaten deep or under, but in hindsight you see all the cool things you did. I think it really helped me see how much progress I’ve made, and I promise you’ll surprise yourself. At the end of last year, had I seen this video, I would not have recognized me.
To finish up this blog post, I want to thank you for reading this far, and hope you understand why I love Wreck. I’ll leave you with a fun fact before I take the summer off (until Wreck-ruitment that is!): T. rex is often bullied for its “small arms” but in a conservative estimate, scientists say the bicep alone could curl 430 pounds. Rawr.