The first three years were a struggle, it’s not easy being a high school freshman still awkwardly growing into your body while expected to be a main contributor to the varsity squad. I picked up the game of lacrosse around the sixth grade. From middle school lacrosse, to fall leagues, and elite summer travel ball, I was always part of a pretty good team and was a stand out player. High School then came around to present a lacrosse team that was nonexistent until the year before. I could tell if we were to achieve any kind of success it would take proper leadership, a great sense of comradery, and a driven practice regimen.
Freshman year was the first winning season in North Atlanta High School Lacrosse history after only winning three games the previous debut year. This was a good step for the team, but it still seemed miles away from our ultimate goal of reaching the state playoffs. The next two years, despite me having to miss the first couple of games each season due to wrestling injuries, more small steps were made. The team was coming closer together and began to play more as one team rather than selfishly, and were able to put together better records each year. We were still short of our goal however, even when it seemed within reaching distance.
Finally senior year came around, and brought with it some unexpected curve balls. The coaching staff from the previous year was dismissed, and were replaced by head coach Patrick Cheney and his crew. Coach Cheney had been an assistant defensive coach my freshman year before leaving due to career purposes, and now he had returned three years later in order to head up a new team at a familiar school. Not only was the coaching staff new, but I had been assigned a new position. Two of our team’s better players were dismissed due to some off field disciplinary infractions before the season. This forced coach to move me, from the midfield position I had played since the start of my lacrosse career, to attack in order to fill some recently vacated gaps in the starting lineup. As a senior leader and second year captain, I rolled with the punches and didn’t complain about my new position change. I was only concerned with doing my best to lead a successful team.
Goal still in mind, we commenced the senior season as playoff hopefuls. Despite a new coach and new position, I was part of the most determined team in school history. It was the first time I remember fully believing that my high school team could actually make a statement. In my new strictly offensive position, I was able to use the defensive and offensive point of view that I developed from midfield to my advantage. Not only was I able to lead the offence, but I was able to anticipate defensive schemes and actions. This in turn helped my performance in the offencive battleground, and helped me to become a better team player and leader. This isn’t to say that senior year was without its ups and downs. We lost some games by one and two goals that we should have won, and we faced adversity from every angle. However, the incredible team comradery, devoted practice ethic of 110% at all times, and even the cheers of our newly established fan base helped to pull us through. We had become a new symbol of hope for the entire school.
We weren’t the biggest or most athletic team in the state by any means. Even so, we did it, we were the first North Atlanta Lacrosse team to make the state playoffs. Allatoona beat us in the first round of the playoffs and went on to win the state championship, but that didn’t matter to me. We had one ultimate goal in mind since freshman year, we would be the class to make history. That season I was voted offensive MVP, and also set the school record for most goals in a single season with 54. After that season I understood the importance of why people set goals, and the drive that pushes one towards them. Even if you fall short, you will be in a better place from where the drive started, and the feeling of accomplishment and joy that occurs once a goal is is finally reached makes it far more than worth it.