By Ryan Murphy, Women's Lacrosse
March 12 was a day that left every senior spring athlete with a pit in their heart. We would never get to finish our final year as athletes. When I reminisce on my career at West Point, and even further back into my youth playing lacrosse, I realize every value I hold dear to my heart I learned through this sport.
My dad was my coach for most of my life, and he always told me, “Ryan, you have to be the hardest working kid on the field so nobody can say you’re just playing because I’m your dad”. I did just that. I outran everyone on the field, trained with a coach outside of practice hours and worked out whenever I had the free time. My dad taught me that work ethic is irrevocable. As an athlete, if you’re working hard, you will be rewarded.
My plebe year at West Point was anything but a breeze. First semester came and went, but second semester felt as if it dragged on forever. I was a starting defender, but within five games, I found myself on the bench. Initially, this hurt. Quickly, I learned what it meant to be a good teammate. I learned that there are so many aspects of being an athlete, and one of those is being a good motivator. I cheered on my teammates from the sidelines and picked them up when they felt down after a game.
At the same time, I encountered pressure on the home front. I had to learn how to deal with all those stressors. I found the importance of staying focused on what mattered most in the moment. It was a lesson that would carry me the rest of my four years.
This experience taught me another core value, resiliency. I left freshman year hungrier than ever to earn a starting role as a sophomore. I would not let my downfalls of the previous season affect my mindset when I came back after the summer. I would be coachable throughout the fall and put in the extra work to ensure I was ready for the spring. When that time came around, I found myself back on the field. That year proved to me how important it is to be resilient and determined. Read more.