How Field Hockey Changed My Life

by Emma Shuster

Towards the end of freshman year, I decided to escape my comfort zone and try out for the field hockey team, though I’d never picked up a stick before. I had ten weeks to learn the game. My friend began helping me, and I began reaching out to coaches.

Then, I got my shot; the coach asked if I would play goalie. I became faced with a predicament. Do I say yes? What if I get hurt? What if I let in too many goals? I barely understood the sport. After my first season ended, I joined a club team, commuting over an hour each way to practice and playing in tournaments with some of the best players in the country. I had leaned into discomfort and conquered my fears, improving my skill, and learning the true meaning of dedication.

Two years ago, I struggled to put on my equipment, but today I am a confident player. As time progressed, I saw not only my skill level but my attitude towards myself and others change. When faced with a challenge, I tell myself I am capable and have the confidence to overcome obstacles. Every challenge became another shot coming my way, and I clear it away.

The transformation continues. Life as a teenager is tough, between school, making friends, and numerous other curves. I used to be a quiet girl that my classmates hardly knew existed. I was afraid to speak up for myself, afraid to audition for school productions, afraid to branch out.

Midway through my sophomore year, I saw myself becoming a new person. I was changing, maturing, evolving. I joined choir and auditioned for school musicals. I finally had the courage to make new friends, confidence for public speaking, and leadership traits. I learned I was just as strong and independent as those around me. When placed in difficult situations, I envision myself on the field, in my goalie equipment. I am stronger than those around me. I have a voice. I am a leader.

My newfound confidence has helped me realize my desire to be a sports journalist. In spite of a profession that is still plagued by sexism, I’m ready to overcome any stereotypical comments or assumptions. Having played and devoted myself to a female sport, I aspire to be the best female sports journalist that I can be. Reflecting on these past few years, field hockey has definitely been the catalyst of change. I am not the same timid girl that I used to be. The quiet girl who I once was is now gone. Though I am grateful for her, I am overwhelmingly thankful for the strong, confident young woman I have become.