We’ve All Been There

by Teryn Brill Galloway, USA Field Hockey's Senior Communications Manager

Image Courtesy of Temple Athletics/Terri Batze

It’s your freshman year, you’re six games into your season and you’re not getting a lot of playing time. Once an all-league, all-district and all-state but now all you see is the game clock ticking down and your feet still firmly on the sideline.

We’ve all been there.

Only a select few will make immediate impacts as true freshmen in college. In fact, some athletes may redshirt their first year and won’t see playing time until their junior and senior seasons. The expectation that you will join the team as a rookie and start right away are far and few between. This translates simply into the small fish in a big pond analogy. The reality is that you are not the only athlete joining the team with copious accolades to your name and playing time won’t be given, it is earned alongside your new teammates. This is one of life’s reality checks for some young freshmen players.

As the games come and go and you only play 2 to 5 minutes here and there at the end of a match when your team is winning by a significant amount, don’t quit. Part of your growth as an athlete isn’t about playing time but playing your role in that moment for your team. It is bigger than you.

We’ve all been there.

The upperclassmen on your team waited years to get playing time and earn their right to hold down a starting position. It may take countless hours of self-reflection, dedication and hard work but the fight will be worth it in the end. Those days that you showed up early to practice just to “work on your hit” won’t go unnoticed. That 60-yard sprint back on defense when the A Team is playing the B Team in practice won’t only benefit you, but also your fellow teammates. Your never-give-up attitude during drills will only further fine tune your skills.

Even though your turfs might not be between the field lines, don’t give up hope. Your time will come. Your shining moment. It might be in a few games when there is an unexpected injury or a few years when you have matured as an athlete. But you’ll be ready.

We’ve all been there.

When that time arrives, and you’ve excelled at the role of a supportive teammate, embraced the hard work that goes with skill refinement and earned your starting position, you will be a better athlete because of it. You will take these lessons and apply them to other aspects of your game, life and career. You will share your team mentality with all future relationships and jobs. You will know what sacrifice means and how to dedicate your energy to improving your skill set. All those minutes on the sideline will be the backbone of your humble attitude and also the motivation for your future successes. One day when you are far removed from the sidelines playing a sport, you will look back and relish in the lessons you learned and the character it built in you.

Because, we’ve all been there.