Preparation for championships started early for the field hockey team. It was already on our minds over the summer and was motivation to push harder, run faster, and go farther even when the thought of slacking crossed our minds. Preseason came and it was hockey all the time for a week straight. Two practices a day of conditioning and playing, taking the time between practices to eat and nap and being so sore movement did not feel like an option.
As the end of the week neared, whispers of the dreaded push run began. The push run is the hardest run that the hockey team completes. It is an 8 to 12 lap sprint broken up into 100 yards, 60 yards, half a lap, and full-lap sprints. While we all dreaded it we also thank the push run because it helped put us one step closer towards our goal: championships. As the season progressed we had games that were not the best and games that felt great.
The outcomes were determined by our ability to work together, maintain composure, and play with intensity. About halfway through the season our coach, Shelly Novak, decided that if we wanted to be champions we had to practice like champions. We started a whole new practice set up with the intention of promoting more teamwork, more composure, and more intensity.
On the field it is easy to see when the team works together and when we do not. Nothing beats the feeling of playing on a team where you know everyone has got each other’s backs. If a mistake is made, it does not matter because we work to fix it and rise above together. During the week leading up to championships, the team’s excitement was palpable. Every 6 a.m. push run, mile, 100 yard sprint, burpee, push up, and sit up has paid off. As a team we have pushed harder than imagined to make it to this moment.
However, things do not always go as planned and no matter how hard we train mistakes are made.
When a team works as hard as we have with as much determination and love for a sport as we have for field hockey, at some point the team becomes family. Knowing that someone has your back does not stop once the game is over. Even though each of us on the team has different interests, there is one thing we all have in common: dedication to this team and our sport, field hockey.