For Today, Play Because You Can.
by Teryn Brill Galloway, USA Field Hockey's Director of Communications
Images Courtesy of UNC Communications
I spent 17 years chasing the game I loved. I played every weekend, holiday and summer until I was 22 years old. I collected memories, trophies and battle scars. And then, in one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, I walked away. I felt sure that it was best for me and most days, I believe I was right.
One day you will walk off the field for the last time. One day you will untie your turfs forever. One day you will put your stick in your bag and there it will stay for months at a time. One day your tan lines will fade. You’ll forget the feeling of a fresh grip in your hands. You’ll struggle to remember the sound it makes when the ball hits the back of the goal. You’ll see your teammates once or twice a year instead of every single day. You won’t dive for a ball. You won’t sprint back to help on defense. One day you’ll be on the other side of the fence.
One day this won’t be your life anymore. And when it’s not, you won’t remember the things that you’d think. You’ll have no idea how many times you scored the winning goal. You won’t be impressed with how many defensive saves you made. You won’t care about your saves per game average. For the most part, you won’t remember wins and losses at all.
After your last quarter or half has come and gone, you’re going to remember the times when you wanted to quit - but didn’t. You’re going to remember the teammates (and families) you loved along the way. You’re going to remember playing in the freezing cold, driving rain and unbearable heat. You’re going to remember the hotel bonding and the eight-hour road trips. You’re going to remember the early morning conditioning and late games. You’re going to remember the coaches that never gave up on you. But most of all, you’re going to remember the sheer happiness that came only from being between two white lines. You’re going to remember the moments you did more than you ever believed you could. You’re going to remember the times you used every bit of talent given to you.
One day this won’t be your life anymore. So for today, run as fast as your feet will take you. Whether it’s a lead pass for a teammate or the tip in goal. For today, sweep as hard as you can. Commit to every 50/50 ball and give it everything you have. For today, make every play like it’s the last chance you’ll ever get. For today, play because you want to. Play because you need to. Play because the little boy or girl you used to be fell in love with this game all those years ago.
For today, don’t stop until the final whistle. Play with every piece of your heart and leave it all on the field. One day, this won’t be your life anymore. When that day comes, make sure you wouldn’t change a thing.