I’ve played lacrosse since I was six years old, and during my first three years at St. Lawrence University, I was an enthusiastic member of the women’s lacrosse team. Competing with a collection of fierce, skilled, and dedicated female athletes has been one of the best experiences of my life. However, my senior year, I made a decision that would shock even myself. I quit.
The truth is, since arriving freshmen year, I had wanted to join the golf team. Unfortunately, because the seasons overlapped, participating on both the lacrosse and golf teams was simply not possible. I chose lacrosse, and for my first three years, it helped me thrive.
At St. Lawrence, lacrosse is more than just playing a game or two a week in the spring. To be on the team means being in constant communication with teammates, knowing that the team GroupMe notifications will be nonstop, and Snapchat will be blowing up all day long. At least one meal a day is shared with other players, securing, at minimum, four Dana Dining Hall tables for team dinners.
Arriving one hour early for every practice was standard, as showing up 30 minutes early is considered “running late.” My St. Lawrence persona was built around lacrosse, and my entire life was strongly associated with St. Lawrence athletics because I was constantly dressed in team apparel. This lifestyle could be regarded as rigorous for a Division III athlete, but the team quickly grew to be my family and the demands felt routine.
Despite my commitment to the lacrosse team, my ambition to be on the women’s golf team lingered. By the end of my junior year, my passion for playing lacrosse remained but the idea of trying something new and different won out. So, I took a leap of faith, and with the support of friends, teammates, and coaches, I traded in one pair of cleats for another.
This change of direction turned my understanding of what a St. Lawrence student-athlete could be upside down. To be on the golf team means to be completely independent—practicing every day at a time that works with my schedule, on my own time with one, maybe two other teammates whose schedules align. Navigating this independence requires a different type of time management. Adjusting to this style of commitment took some time. I was now a bigger piece in a puzzle as well. Golf is a smaller team and I realized that every member contributed to its dynamic in their own unique way. This was new, unfamiliar family chemistry, but one that revealed another side of me and honed skills I didn’t know I needed: self-reliance, patience, and independence.
Both lacrosse and golf have taught me ways to be a part of a team—not better or worse, just different. Being able to adjust to both sports’ lifestyles has taught me that I can adapt to different environments and that a birdie can be just as rewarding as an assist or a goal.