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M y dreams have changed over the years. At first, my dream was to learn how to ride a bike in an hour. Then it was to be an elite ice skater. And then it was to become a professional chef like Emeril Lagasse. I even had his recipe book and a Bam! apron. From a vet, to being a girl Tony Hawk, to a backup NSync dancer, my dreams were constantly changing. However, there have been two, ever since I was eight years old, that have not changed. My biggest dreams, for as long as I can remember, have been to one- win a national championship- and two- be on the US Women’s National Lacrosse Team.

Since I was little, I’ve been told to not only follow my dreams, but to make these dreams as big as possible. I’ve been told that if I have a passion for something and if I work as hard as I possibly can, that anything is possible.  My parents taught me that in order to achieve my dreams, there were a few necessary things I had to do along the way.

I had to outwork everyone around me and then some. “Be a hard worker. Be humble. And never stop being hungry,” is what they say to me to this day.

I had to dedicate time, so much time, to my dream. Time that could have been spent at the movies with friends or just laying on my couch became time spent working towards my dream, because I was taught that dreams don’t come true by waiting for them to happen on their own.

I had to make my individual skills as sharp as possible, which meant extra training, extra running, even more time. I had to work hard off the field in order to see results on the field.

I had to continue to be a good person throughout it all. Whether I became successful in my sport or if I never picked up a stick again, my parents didn’t care. They were ultimately concerned with making sure I was a good person, both a gracious loser and a gracious winner, a team first player, and a person who loved what they did and enjoyed it with every ounce of their being.

The most important thing my parents taught me about accomplishing MY dream was that in order to do it, I couldn’t think about me at all. I wanted to be a part of a team, to play on some of the best lacrosse teams in the world, which meant that my focus had to be on just that. On what I could do to make the TEAM better, on being the best TEAMMATE I could possibly be, on celebrating my TEAM’s successes even if I was playing the worst game of my life. I was taught that individual awards were not only the result of a team doing well, but that they were only even possible because of that team.  This team first mentality, even when connected to accomplishing my individual dream, was by far the biggest necessity of all in my parents’ eyes.

And I did all of those things. Ever since I picked up a stick at age five, I have worked my butt off. I’ve been hungry and a fighter, through every setback and accomplishment. I’ve dedicated hours upon hours of my life that I will never get back, all in hopes of accomplishing my dreams of winning a national championship and being on the WNT. I’ve honed my individual skills, done the extra work after practices, early in the mornings, and late at night. I’ve tried my best to remain a good person and an even better teammate through it all. I’ve created a lifetime’s worth of memories in the seventeen years I’ve played lacrosse and for that, I am forever grateful.

During college, I accomplished one of my dreams not once, but twice. As a Terp, I won two national championships and that feeling is one I’ve never been able to put into words. Those hours, days, and months following those wins were easily some of the best ones of my life. After so much work, my team and I accomplished OUR dreams together, which was more satisfying than I could have ever imagined.

I still had one more to go though… one more dream to accomplish. After I graduated, that dream of being on the US Women’s National Team became my sole focus. Beyond my new company or anything else, all I wanted was to be a part of that team. Each training weekend brought their own challenges, their own highs and lows, until the final one just last week. This was it- the moment of truth and the moment where I would see if I would accomplish my dream……

My dreams were never meant to be small, safe, imaginable. My dreams were supposed to be as grand and ambitious as possible. My dreams were to be accomplished only if I were to put my heart and soul into it. My dream, after fourteen long years, finally came true and, for that, I am eternally grateful and humbled.

However, even though I’ve now accomplished both of my dreams, this does not mean I’m done dreaming. Because of accomplishing these dreams, I’ve been able to create newer, larger dreams than ever before. My dream now is to win the gold medal at the World Cup. This gold medal, for myself and my US teammates, is now the standard we set for ourselves and the dream we all want to accomplish together. Time to get after it… July is only 6 months away…

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