At the horrific hour of 5 a.m., the alarm clock interrupts our much-needed slumber. Are. You. Kidding. Each of us roll, quite literally, out of our beds, the freshmen in their dark dorms and townhouses, the sophomores in their silent sororities or houses, and the juniors and seniors in their cozy (read: dingy) Collegetown apartments and homes. We shuffle into our respective bathrooms, bleary-eyed and beaten, stumbling on the masses of empty Gatorade bottles and Wegman’s pasta cartons strewn across the room, evidence of the wild night of heavy hydration and excessive carbo-loading. We struggle to put clothes on properly (sweatpants first, THEN then shoes) and hobble outside to pick up other teammates or to wait for our ride. When our teammate’s car arrives, packed to the brim with bodies, sneakers, and hurried breakfasts, we realize that yes, we are violating countless traffic codes by forcing those seven girls to share the backseat. But more importantly, in that brief moment where we trudge between from our home and to the waiting car, each of us are is struck by the knowledge that although we are awake at 5 a.m., although it is still technically summer, although we are about to run our painful preseason conditioning tests, we are doing it all together, as a team, as a group of young women committed to the same goals, pushing each other to achieve more both on and off the field.
I am sure that nearly everyone has been on a team of some sort, whether that group was a debate team, an athletic team, or simply a group project. I am also sure that nearly everyone would agree that waking up at 5 a.m. is, to put it very mildly, not preferable. But as we all know from our own individual team experiences, being a member of any team or organization means making certain sacrifices in exchange for great rewards.
The Cornell field hockey team is no exception. Like any team or group, we must make sacrifices on a daily basis, although some sacrifices are more visible, and more deeply felt, than others. Occasionally, a class or a club conflicts with our practice schedule, and the team must take priority. The training sessions and practices are physically and mentally demanding, and multi-tasking and time management take on entirely new meanings. Early morning practices at 6 a.m. can prove difficult after a long night of icing sore muscles, trying to catch “The Office,” cramming for Biochemistry, and subsequently spiraling into a quarter-life crisis, consisting of doubts such as, “Why am I pre-med again?” and profound questions like, “How did I get into this part of Kroch?” And of course, our social life definitely becomes more limited during the season.
However, just as any busy Cornell student would agree, the sacrifices we make for our activities are made willingly because we believe we can achieve great things. While our team has enjoyed some success thus far this season, we do not necessarily view our goals and achievements through our overall record or the numbers on the stat sheet. Although winning our conference, the Ivy League, is our goal every year, the great rewards we hope to earnwe also include gain the satisfaction and knowledge that we each brought positive attitudes, intensity, and discipline every day. In that light, we are really looking forward to our second Ivy League game this on Saturday against Columbia. While every game is important, there is something special about Ivy League games. Besides being the conference that we compete in to gain a berth to the NCAA tournament, the league’s rich traditions and long-standing rivalries make every game competitive and distinct. On any day, any team one team can win, and this fact makes Ivy League games (in any sport, but especially in field hockey) so exciting.
We are happy that our hard work is reflected in our successes record so far this season, but we are more interested in focusing on each individual opponent, bringing a good attitude and intensity to every practice and every game , and representing the Cornell community through the game that we love to play. We know that we will make each other better players and better individuals. Because weWe are a part of a team, a part of something that as a whole is far greater than any the sum of its individual parts, and we are confident that the rewards for our sacrifices and efforts will be worth it, even that 5 a.m. wake-up call.