Jan 29, 2013, 1:49 PM EDT
Irish senior Emily Conner returns to the blog with a new series, “No Time to ReLAX” detailing the exciting and busy experience of her final semester and final season at Notre Dame. If you’ve read the Fighting Irish blogs in the past, you might remember her “Lax In The City” entries this past summer, chronicling her time working with ESPN in New York City.
It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Bear Bryant
I know it is probably not kosher for me to start off a blog series for the University of Notre Dame with a quote from a former Alabama head football coach – especially post-January 7, 2013 (I assume no explanation is necessary). But I decided to go against my gut and open us up with a quote from Bear Bryant nevertheless. This is because I honestly cannot think of any quote more befitting of the feelings I have headed into week three of lacrosse preseason.
Every year, week three has been where my will starts to be tested. It is that grueling time where more aches and pains start popping up with each practice. I’ve stopped asking myself if we’re going to run and started asking how much. At this point, I’ve gotten in the swing of things, but our first game still feels a million miles away. This is the time I like to call, “THE GRIND.” The grind is ultimately a good thing but it isn’t easy. It requires buckling down, and as Urban Dictionary describes it, “being on the job, hustlin” …In our case, the hustlin’ is actually literal and the job requires ice baths and wind sprints. At the end of the day, this time has one main purpose: for our team to decide if we have what it takes to be number one.
As we all know, champions come few and far between, but their legacies live on to inspire fellow athletes to follow in their footsteps. One athlete that has always inspired me is Peyton Manning. The reason I like him so much is because he has one of the best work ethics of any professional athlete. He may not be the most athletic quarterback in the National Football League, but when it comes down to it, there is no person better prepared come Sunday afternoon than Manning. It is his will to work and not just his will to win that has made him a Super Bowl MVP and a 12x Pro-Bowl selection.
In lacrosse, people assume champions are decided on Memorial Day Weekend, but after three and a half years as a collegiate athlete, I’ve realized that champions are – for the most part – determined August through February, not March through May. It is because, like Bear Bryant said, we all have the will to win. We wouldn’t be college athletes if we didn’t. But with almost 3,000 Division I female college lacrosse players, only about 30 of us (or 32, in our case ☺) will end our season as champions. Which makes me ask the question, is there some secret ingredient that enables the 1% to defy the odds and end up hoisting a trophy come May?
After 1,255 days and 59 games as a collegiate athlete, I’ve found the answer is in fact in a team’s will to prepare. The past two weeks, I’ve watched my teammates exhibit their willingness to work – day in and day out. I have never been more proud to be a part of a team as I am with this team, this year. We’ve been enjoying the challenges that the coaches have thrown at us each day because they are helping us pursue our goals. I’ve seen many team members brave the snow and horrendous lake effect winds, to get a little extra wall ball in before practice. Our run test was met with confidence and gusto like I’ve never seen before, and our times reflected it as well. As a whole, we have approached each day with a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality, and have seen vast improvement over the past two weeks.
So… as the Old English Proverb says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” And from the looks of our team this year, there is definitely a will. Here’s hoping “the way” takes us all the way to Philly!!
About In The Crease
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