Some might make the assumption that going away to boarding school is an isolating experience. But living away from your friends and family does not mean you lose the sense of love and support you feel at home. At Groton, I found students and faculty with whom I developed meaningful connections, just as deep and just as strong as those I have at home. These people are not only here for me while I’m on campus. They show their support in all walks of my life, from academics to athletics.
I recently attended a basketball tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, which was a big deal for me because a) it is the farthest I have ever traveled for basketball, and b) I just recovered from two successive injuries that have kept me out of action for the past year and a half. I was incredibly excited to be back on the court, on a new team, feeling strong and healthy for the first time in a long time. Nothing could make this moment more special. Or so I thought...
I woke up on Friday morning in my hotel bed, ready for my first game that afternoon, and checked my phone to see where my teammates wanted to get breakfast. In addition to a heated argument about whether or not we should find a place that sells açaí bowls, there was a text from Coach Crail, the Groton girls basketball coach. It's difficult to describe how good it felt to receive his text, wishing me luck and telling me that he would be watching online. To know that there was someone out there who is so passionate about my success that they took the time out of their weekend to watch my games is truly a gift.
Due to shortages in substitute players, I helped out two other teams within my club. I ended up playing a game on Friday, three games on Saturday, and then two more on Sunday. The first of the two Sunday games was the semi-finals, in which my team lost by one point. It was a tough one, but everyone was heading back to the airport with a sense of pride knowing that we had played a good game. Everyone that is, except me. My flight was at 8:00 p.m. and I had decided to stay behind to watch the championship game. As it turned out, another Jags team was playing in the final game, but they were facing a challenge.
The game was scheduled for late that afternoon and more than half of the team had to leave early to make their flights home. I, of course, was going to stay to watch the championship regardless, so I volunteered to help out yet again. And guess what happened…
We ended up winning! With only seven players, two of us from other teams, we came out on top.
After my sixth game that weekend I was extremely tired, to say the least, but not too tired to read what Coach Crail had sent my mom regarding the games that weekend. To summarize, he was really proud of the way I had stuck it out and managed to help another team win the championship. It was awesome that I had been able to jump into a game where I didn’t know the players, or the coach, or their offense, and still managed to play well and make an impact. He said that this was a perfect example of why I would make a great captain next year. Those words were so much better than any kind of trophy they could have given us, and they meant the world to me.
This tournament was just another reminder that I have people from Groton caring about my success, rooting for me 24/7. I am so thankful for the relationships that Groton has helped me to build, and I am sure that they will last long after I have graduated from the school.